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Susanne Claudine Pils, Martin Scheutz,

Christoph Sonnlechner, Stefan Spevak (Hg.)


RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME
DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND
DES GEHEIMNISSES
Susanne Claudine Pils, Martin Scheutz,
FORSCHUNGEN und BEITR GE zur WIENER STADTGESCHICHTE Christoph Sonnlechner, Stefan Spevak (Hg.)

RATHUSER ALS
MULTIFUNKTIONALE
RUME
DER REPRSENTATION,
DER PARTEIUNGEN
UND DES
GEHEIMNISSES

f+b55
FORSCHUNGEN UND BEITRGE
ZUR WIENER STADTGESCHICHTE
Publikationsreihe des Vereins fr Geschichte der Stadt Wien

Herausgeberin: Susanne Claudine Pils

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Titelbild: Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, media wien: 4762


f+b55

INHALTSVERZEICHNIS

Vorwort 7
Der Wrde der ersten Stadt des Reiches 9
Die Projekte zum Wettbewerb des Wiener Rathausbaues 1868/69
Manuel Swatek und Jakob Whrer (Wien)

I. EINLEITUNG
MULTIFUNKTIONALITT, FFENTLICHKEIT UND
GEHEIMNIS DAS RATHAUS IM LNGSSCHNITT

Die Multifunktionalitt der Rathuser in langer Perspektive 19


Versuch eines berblicks
Martin Scheutz (Wien)

Architektur und ffentlichkeit im Rathausbau 67


Stephan Albrecht (Bamberg)

II. DIE RATHUSER IN MITTELALTER UND NEUZEIT


IN REGIONALGESCHICHTLICHEN QUERSCHNITTEN

Rathuser im westlichen sterreich in Mittelalter 95


und Frher Neuzeit
Klaus Brandsttter (Innsbruck)

Volksherrschaft und Standesdnkel 121


Ein Blick auf den Rathausbau der Frhen Neuzeit in
der Eidgenossenschaft aus kunsthistorischer Perspektive
Axel Christoph Gampp (Bern)

From the Judges House to the Towns House 155


Town Halls in Medieval Hungary
Judit Majorossy (Budapest)

Der langwierige Weg zum Rathaus im tschechischen Mittelalter 211


Josef emlika (Prag)
INHALTSVERZEICHNIS f+b55

Rathuser in hessischen Kleinstdten 227


Denkmler kommunalen Selbstbewusstseins oder
Kompensation fr den stdtischen Niedergang?
Holger Th. Grf (Marburg)

III. RATHUSER ALS BHNE DER REPRSENTATION


KOMMUNALER WERTIGKEITEN

Das Wiener Rathaus als umwelthistorischer Erinnerungsort 255


Christoph Sonnlechner (Wien)

Neues Wiener Rathaus und Stephansdom 271


Divergenz und Kongruenz in Politik und Reprsentation
(18701950)
Stefan Spevak (Wien)

Die erste groe Probe der neuen Zeit 317


Der Wiener Rathauskeller
Inge Podbrecky (Wien)

Das Rathaus als Museums- und Ausstellungsort ber Formen 339


und Funktionen stdtischer Reprsentation in Wien 18861958
Sndor Bksi (Wien)

Das Alte Rathaus in Linz Stdtische Reprsentation und 373


Funktionalitt im Wandel (16.21. Jahrhundert)
Cathrin Hermann (Linz)

Rathaus-Architekturen im 19. und 20.Jahrhundert 411


Eine Montage
Andreas Nierhaus (Wien)

IV. SYNTHESE
RATHUSER ALS DER ORT DER STADT:
STANDESDNKEL, ANSPRUCH UND DIENSTLEISTUNG

Versuch einer Synthese 423


Karl Fischer (Wien)

Orts- und Personenverzeichnis 433


Erstellt von Birgit Heinzle
f+b55

VORWORT

Rathuser sind heute eine unhinterfragte Selbstverstndlichkeit fr urbanen


Raum. Unabhngig von der Gre der Ansiedlung weist jede Stadt ein mehr
oder weniger prchtiges sowie ein mehr oder weniger altes Rathaus auf. An die-
sen Rathusern konzentriert sich in der Vorstellung der Zeitgenossen politische
Macht, Verwaltungsttigkeit, Kultur (etwa Bibliotheken, Museen), aber auch viel
Erlebnis. Das 1883 erffnete Wiener Rathaus um nur ein Beispiel zu nennen
ist gleichermaen der Sitz der Magistratsverwaltung, ein Ort der Bildung (Wien-
Bibliothek; frher auch Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv und Wiener Stadtmu-
seum), der Ort der politischen Arbeit (etwa in Fraktionsbros), der Sitzungsort
des Wiener Stadtrates/Landtages, aber eben auch prchtige Kulisse fr verschie-
dene Kulturveranstaltungen von der Erffnung der Wiener Festwochen ber
den glamours-schrillen Life-Ball bis hin zu den brgerlichen Ballveranstal-
tungen. Betrachtet man die Rathuser von ihrem baulichen Kern, so war die
Reprsentation der brgerlichen Kultur schon im 19. Jahrhundert architek-
tonisch angelegt: Allein die verschiedenen, hier im Band aufgelisteten Bauent-
wrfe fr das Wiener Rathaus zeigen, dass die politische Kultur bruchlos neben
der Festkultur stand, ja man knnte nach der Durchsicht der Entwurfsplne des
19.Jahrhunderts fr das Wiener Rathaus den Eindruck gewinnen, dass fr die
brgerlichen Bauherren der reprsentative Festsaal, der eindrucksvolle, mit den
Kirchen der Stadt in Konkurrenz stehende Rathausturm oder der nachtrglich
eingefhrte Rathauskeller fast wichtiger waren, als die weniger ffentlichen
politischen Gremien der Stadt. Zudem wollten die Brger des 19.Jahrhunderts
nachhaltig ihren gewichtigen Beitrag zum Bau des Staates unterstreichen, indem
die brgerliche Wehrhaftigkeit als Grundlage des Staates interpretiert und auch
in Form von Figuren auf der Brstung augenfllig ausgestellt wurde.
Der vorliegende Band soll einen berblick ber die Genese der Rathuser
in Mitteleuropa (von der Schweiz bis nach Rumnien, von Tschechien bis nach
Oberitalien) vermitteln: Erst nach hartem Kampf mit den weltlichen/geistlichen
Stadtherren konnte die Brgergemeinde neben dem Stadtrichter einen Brger-
meister und als Folge davon baulich/rumlich ein Rathaus durchsetzen. Diese
neu entstandenen Rathuser mussten sich baulich einerseits gegenber den Sit-
zen des Stadtherrn, aber auch gegenber den prchtigen Adelspalais der Frhen
Neuzeit durchsetzen, erst im 19. Jahrhundert kam es zu einer richtigen Welle
burgartiger Rathausneubauten, whrend im 20.Jahrhundert mehr und mehr die

7
VORWORT f+b55

Vorstellung des offenen, zunehmend barrierefreien Rathauses, des Brgerser-


vice-Centers im hufig neu erbauten Neuen Rathaus, zu dominieren begann.
Der vorliegende Band gliedert sich in insgesamt vier Sektionen: Nach zwei ein-
leitenden Beitrgen, welche die Multifunktionalitt und die Zwnge und Chan-
cen des Rathausbaues in der Neuzeit verdeutlichen, folgen regionalgeschicht-
liche Lngsschnitte (sterreich, Schweiz, Tschechien, Ungarn) und schlielich
Beitrge, welche die brgerliche Reprsentationskultur am Beispiel der Rathu-
ser augenfllig deuten: Politische Systembrche machen sich am Rathaus ebenso
deutlich wie die Rathuser als Erinnerungsorte (etwa fr Umweltgeschichte, fr
brgerliche Wertigkeiten und Wertvorstellungen etc.) dienten. Eine Synthese aus
kundiger Hand rundet die Ertrgnisse des Bandes ab.
Der Verein fr Geschichte der Stadt Wien veranstaltete vom 12. bis
14.Oktober 2011 im Vortragssaal des Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchivs eine gut
besuchte, international besetzte Tagung zum Thema Rathuser als multifunk-
tionale Rume der Reprsentation, der Parteiungen und des Geheimnisses. Als
Abschluss der Tagung fand eine Besteigung des Wiener Rathausturmes statt,
der das Panorama der brgerlichen Wertigkeiten im 19. Jahrhundert und den
Anspruch der Dominanz ber die Stadt augenfllig verdeutlichte. Neben dem
Prsidenten des Vereins fr Geschichte der Stadt Wien Dr.Karl Fischer kommt
vor allem auch Dr.Brigitte Rigele, der Direktorin des Wiener Stadt- und Lan-
desarchivs, besonderer Dank fr die stete Untersttzung dieses Forschungspro-
jektes des Vereines fr Geschichte der Stadt Wien zu. Das Institut fr ster-
reichische Geschichtsforschung (Direktor Thomas Winkelbauer) hat die Tagung
zudem untersttzt. Das Wiener Rathaus als Gebude und als Ort wird mit die-
ser Tagung in eine breite Verwaltungs-, Kultur- und Raumgeschichte des mittel-
europischen Raumes eingeordnet.

Susanne C. Pils, Martin Scheutz,


Christoph Sonnlechner, Stefan Spevak

Wien, im Oktober 2012

Siehe den Tagungsbericht von Herwig Weigl (Wien): Rathuser als multifunktionale Rume der Repr-
sentation, der Parteiungen und des Geheimnisses. H-Soz-u-Kult, H-Net Reviews. November, 2011
[http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=34607, Zugriff 31.Mai 2012].

8 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55

FROM THE JUDGES HOUSE


TO THE TOWNS HOUSE
Town Halls in Medieval Hungary*
Judit Majorossy (Budapest)

In the early fifteenth-century law book of Buda (Ofen), the election of the new
town judge of the community is described as follows: Zu erwellung des statrich-
ters an Sand Iorgen tag [which according to the calendar used in medieval Hun-
gary was on the 24th of April]. So das hochampt in unser obristen zu Unserr Lie-
ben Frawn1 volbracht ist, zu stundt an vor essen zeit, ee ein yederman zu tisch get, so
sllen vor dem rathaus auf dem platz zu samen komen der stat gantz gemain, armm
und reich, ydoch d pe der stat wol gesessen und ge erbet sein, und sllen mit guetem
vorrate und wol pedachtem muet aintrechtigklich erwellen und erhhen einen rich-
terr []; during his office-time this judge called the councillors and sworn guild
masters and other burghers to the town hall when there was an urgent case to be
discussed and to be decided: Wan dy stat ichtz mergklichs oder gross anget, so sol
der richterr d ratherren und gesworen zechmaisterr und ander namhaff tig gesessen
lewt mit zeteln und mit anderen zaichen besenden, mit den er derr stat sachen aigen-
lichen mag aus richten, auch derr richterr dy gloken auf dem rathaus lassen leten
auf das, das ein yeder man desterr fuederlicherr auf das rathaus komen mag, und der
stat sach und gescheff t da ausrichten pey der puess, dy dan darauf gesetzt wirt.2
This provides a rather typical medieval image of a town hall being situated
on the main (market) square (Platz) and being used for rendering judgement and
for all the common public matters (including trade, festivity, and so on) of the
urban community. Naturally, the most central and representational places and
buildings of a medieval town are its public buildings and among them in the
first line the town halls as symbols of the urban communities in many senses,
but mainly as symbols of their urban identity and their self-administration. At

* The research which enabled the preparation of the summary below was partially financed by a scholar-
ship registered as Otka pd27698. The medieval Kingdom of Hungary covers certain territories of pre-
sent-day Slovakia, Rumania, and Croatia, where the current toponyms of those towns referred to in the
article do not correspond to their medieval (German, Latin, or Hungarian) names. Th roughout the text,
the historical German names are used with their modern names given once in the main text, except in
the case of those towns situated in present-day Hungary, though their German names are also provi-
ded once. Abbreviations: Archv mesta Bratislavy = AMB; Archv mesta Koice = AMK; ttny archv v
Preove, poboka Preov, fond Magistrt mesta Preov = MMP; Magyar Orszgos Levltr = MOL; Vas
Megyei Levltr Kszegi Fiklevltr = VAML KFL.
1 Th is refers to the Our Lady parish church, today the so-called Matthias church on the castle hill in
Budapest.
2 Mollay (ed.), Das Ofner Stadtrecht, 70 (No. 32), 7374 (No. 37).

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 155


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

the same time, die Entwicklung der brgerlichen Selbstverwaltung ist ein kom-
plexer und lokal sehr unterschiedlich verlaufender Prozess and in addition, their
shape also differed from place to place, das mittelalterliche Rathaus war ein
multifunktionales Gebude. Es diente zugleich als Regierungsgebude, Ger-
ichtshaus, Kaufhaus, Verwaltungsgebude, Zeug- und Festhaus.3 Consequently,
the circumstances and date of the foundation and the topography as well as the
several functions of a town hall in a given community would require individual
approaches. Thus, it would be a rather difficult or almost impossible task to
provide a general overview of the town halls as such of the entire kingdom com-
prised by the medieval realm of Hungary, not only due to the framework and
limitations of a short article, but in this particular case also due to the lack of rel-
evant historiographical antecedents in adequate number.4
If the starting point is to browse through a number of maps those prepared
as reconstructions of the medieval topographical state of certain towns in the
Kingdom of Hungary in order simply to locate our object of research, it is true
that only a few will be found that indicate the site of the medieval town hall.5
In most cases, the most important landmarks that appeared were the ecclesias-
tical buildings (the churches, the chapels and in even greater number the hospi-
tals) and not the secular ones. This is due, of course, to manifold reasons, start-
ing with the deficiency of the sources that survived due to the way such were
produced by urban administration and due to other circumstances, e.g. through
the destruction of the buildings (or their remains), and the lack of archaeological
findings or the fact that without definite source references such findings are not
very easily relatable to the town hall, and this is just to mention a few. In addi-
tion, it is commonplace that a classical medieval town hall as described in the
above quotation was somewhere in a dominant position on a market square,
often on the main largest square. This was already the case in the Mid-
dle Ages, since many of its medieval functions originated from its control over
urban and most importantly market life. Nevertheless, if one takes a closer look
at much better researched areas in comparison to historical Hungary, such as
the German Empire, it becomes clear even at first sight that the central location
criterion (as in the central square with its market or parish church, e.g. Goslar,

3 Albrecht, Mittelalterliche Rathuser, 11, 13; Albrecht, Das Rathaus, 23.


4 Th is actually means that no monograph or article is available on the town halls in general in the medie-
val or indeed in the early modern period, except a few case studies (see later) and those small references
contained in the general town histories or lexicon entries.
5
Within the territory of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary there are three towns for which the histori-
cal town atlases are available: Stdteatlas Schssburg (2000); Stdteatlas Sopron (2010); and Stdteatlas
Storaljajhely (2011). Otherwise in the general secondary literature available, reconstructed maps of the
medieval settlements were consulted. There are a few works in which maps are collected. E.g. for present-
day Slovakia see Mencl, Stredovek mesta which due to the fact that it was prepared in 1938 does not
contain the results of later research. For the towns of Transylvania in present-day Rumania: Nieder-
maier, Stdtebau IIII which usually discusses the town halls in cases of a partially available building
or remnant. In addition to the several illustrations of the secondary literature not to be listed here as well
as to the eighteenth-century maps, also a few general works were used for the maps, e.g. Gerevich (ed.),
Towns.

156 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

Nrnberg, or Lbeck) was not always fulfilled, the location could be another
small market square or even a street (e.g. Regensburg, Bern or Mnster), but nei-
ther is the demonstrative role of such a public building as opposed to another
entity in the town to be neglected (e.g. the bridge town hall of Bamberg, or
the location of the town hall in Mnster opposite the gate leading out of the
prince-primate territory).6 And as is evident from these studies, many other fac-
tors could influence the topography of the medieval town halls (e.g. the availa-
ble or purchasable burgage, the urban development of a given community, etc.).
Thus, while collecting the material concerning the medieval Kingdom of Hun-
gary, one of the issues was the location (or locations) of the medieval building
if identifiable at all in relation to the general topography of the town and also
in relation to its later, modern eighteenth and nineteenth century location.
On the other hand, the task of presenting an overall picture of the medie-
val town halls in the whole kingdom is further hindered by the complete lack
of medieval sources for certain regions (Central Hungary) or for many towns,
where the oft-recurring fires destroyed almost everything not only the sources
but also the buildings themselves, the severe attacks of the Hussites in the north
or later the Turks in the south and central parts of the kingdom resulting in
the same destruction, were combined with the increasing interest/efforts towards
erecting new, more representational central public buildings as well as with the
growing number of tasks to be fulfilled in the town halls which accordingly
required larger spaces. As a consequence of all these factors, one finds predomi-
nantly Baroque and/or Classicist buildings either built on the site of the ear-
lier (sometimes the medieval) town hall through acquiring neighbouring plots or
to be found somewhere else, in a few cases even outside the medieval area of the
given town. And sometimes this is the first time period in respect of which one
hears anything at all about the town hall building of certain urban communi-
ties. This would not necessarily be a unique phenomenon in itself, since it hap-
pened throughout Europe as part of the changing functions and symbolic role
of the town halls in general. However, within the territory of medieval Hun-
gary, the historical research of the sources regarding the earlier buildings and/
or the archaeological/architectural wall-research of the building sites themselves
was not extensively done in many towns, meaning that only a few case studies (or
at least the collection of the relevant sources for the medieval period) are availa-
ble.7 Other wise, usually the first date of the appearance of the town hall in the

6
Albrecht, Mittelalterliche Rathuser, 4149 (Lbeck), 7476 (Mnster), 9294 (Goslar), 200201
(Bamberg), 205208 (Nrnberg), 214217 (Regensburg), 258 (Zrich), 259260 (Bern). For the topogra-
phy of Goslar, Lbeck, Regensburg see also the relevant issues of the Deutsche Stdteatlas series.
7 Such are available e.g. for Buda, see Kubinyi, Budapest trtnete, 8084, 164173; Vgh, Buda I,
7172, 7678; Vgh, Buda II, 126, 243, 408, 420, 577, 668; Benda, A kereskedelem I, 98. For Sopron,
see Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 234247; Tompos, A rgi soproni, 212233. For Press-
burg, see R akovszky, Pressburger Rathhaus, 318; Ortvay, Pozsony, 94120; Jankovi, Excerpty;
Fiala, Star radnica v Bratislave; Holk, Bratislavsk radnica. For Bartfeld, see Myskovszky, Brtfa;
Divald, A brtfai vroshza, 8997; Mik, A brtfai vroshza, 1952. For Leutschau, see Henszl-
mann, Lcsnek rgisgei; Demk, Lcse. For Kronstadt, see Nussbcher, Das Kronstdter Rathaus.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 157


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

documents (in the form of domus consilium, domus consulatus, domus pretorii,
pretorium, rothausz, rathaus) or in the case of an archaeological or art historical
approach a few references to the building/remnants itself, can be found in the lit-
erature. Nevertheless, in the following the attempt is to present what it was pos-
sible to find out about the town halls in the medieval and early modern times,
namely for the period between the fourteenth and the mid-sixteenth century.
Different examples of certain town halls will be mentioned and/or discussed (in a
few instances in more details), not by any means with the intention of presenting
them as case studies or providing an all-embracing summary. The aim is more to
arrange them around an outline structure of discussion of the available sources
in which they might appear and those kinds of information mediated by these
documents, presenting the town types in relation to the general source produc-
tion and even more so in relation to town halls, establishing the chronology of
town hall building processes (to the extent it is possible to establish this at all) as
well as providing a certain/relative typology of the town halls and their locations,
finally touching upon those few examples where something is known about the
decoration of these public buildings in the medieval period.

The urban context the types and the administration of towns


in the kingdom
Before discussing the town halls themselves, the urban system and the self-
administration of the towns in the medieval kingdom of Hungary should be very
briefly circumscribed, since the status of the different types of towns as well as the
level of their real independence strongly influenced whether and when the house
of the towns judge gave over its role as the centre of judgement and administra-
tion to become a separate, representationally erected town hall building. If one
exclusively considers the legal criteria and takes into account mainly the stone-
walled royals settlements as real towns of the kingdom (as was the approach of
the early twentieth-century scholars),8 then after a more intensive urban develop-
ment from the end-thirteenth century onwards,9 by the end of the Middle Ages
the urban network of the kingdom consisted of approximately thirty royal bor-
oughs. Specifically, by that time the Hungarian version of the Reichstadt as
they were called, the liberae civitates regiae, included 1) the so-called civitas taver-
nicalis type of towns enjoying the highest level of freedom with their court of
appeal being the court presided over by the master of the royal treasury (came-
rarius, tarnokmeister) Buda (Ofen), Pest (Pesth), Kaschau (Koice), Pressburg
(Bratislava), Tyrnau (Trnava), Sopron (denburg), Bartfeld (Bardejov) and Eper-
ies (Preov). Another group in this respect was 2) the so-called civitas persona-

8 E.g. Mlyusz, Geschichte, 372373, 394395; Szcs, Vrosok, 19.


9
Kubinyi, Der ungarische Knig, 193220.

158 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

lis type of towns which were subject to the jurisdiction of the personal presence
of the royal majesty Szkesfehrvr (Stuhlweissenburg), Esztergom (Gran),
Leutschau (Levoa). A few further royal towns that are missing from Stephen
Werbczys list in the Tripartitum10 but nowadays are included by scholars in the
above circle although of lesser significance were 3) from 1498 until the Ottoman
occupation in 1543 Szeged as well as from 1405 onwards Zeben (Sabinov) and
after 1372 Skalitz (Skalica). In addition, among the free royal towns one should
also mention 4) the mining towns under the administration of the royal cham-
ber among them NeustadtFrauenbach (Baie Mare) in the east, and in the
north the seven so-called Upper-Hungarian mining towns listed in 1466 as
Kremnitz (Kremnica), Neusohl (Bansk Bystrica), Schemnitz (Bansk tiavnica),
Knigsberg (Nov Baa), Pukantz (Pukanec), Libethen (Lubietov) and Dl-
len (Bansk Bel) which enjoyed wider autonomy. There was another group of
smaller mining towns listed in 1487 as Gllnitz (Gelnica), Schmlnitz (Smolnk),
Rudabnya, Jossau (Jasov), Telkibnya, Rosenau (Roava) and Igl (Spisk
Nov Ves), but they are usually counted among the market towns. Nevertheless,
a further grouping of the royal towns, 5) the Transylvanian Saxon towns should
close the list, since the universitas saxonum headed by the royal judge of Her-
mannstadt also enjoyed similar royal freedom to the above-cited civitas taverni-
calis, among them mainly the three capitals of the Saxons Kronstadt (Brasov),
Hermannstadt (Sibiu) and Bistritz (Bistria) as well as Mediasch (Media) and
Schssburg (Sighioara), which will be discussed later on, together with Klausen-
burg (Cluj-Napoca).11
In addition to the above-listed urban settlements, a next widening circle is
provided by 6) the ecclesiastical centres (Bischofstadt), the episcopal Veszprm
(Weissbrunn/Wesprim), Gyr (Raab), Karlsburg (Alba Iulia), Pcs (Fnfkirchen),
Eger (Erlau), Grosswardein (Oradea), Vc (Waitzen), Csand (Gross-Tschanad),
Neutra (Nitra), Agram (Zagreb) and the archiepiscopal Esztergom (Gran),
Kalocsa (Kollotschau) towns12 which, however, due to their ecclesiastical lords
and differing urbanisation process naturally resulted in a more interdependent
urban setting and this is also reflected if one investigates the history of the town
halls in these communities.
Finally, according to more recent scholarship, which takes into account the
viewpoint of centrality (that is the central role played by a settlement in its sur-
rounding), a third circle further widens the urban network of the kingdom, 7)
the significant market towns (Marktstadt) owned by secular or ecclesiastical
feudal lords, but holding certain privileges and fulfilling more functions of an

10 For Werbczy (1517) there were only walled cities (civitas libera) with differing appeal court (eight plus
three) and non-priviledged towns or marketplaces (oppidum). For his list of the civitas, see Werbczy,
The Customary Law, 389391 (III/810).
11
Kubinyi, Der ungarische Knig, 193220. He considered only the tavernical but not the governal towns
among the free royal towns; Kubinyi, Szabad kirlyi, 5161. See also as a summary Engel, The Realm
of St. Stephen, 253255.
12
Koszta, Pspki szkhely, 233272. A summary with further literature: Font (ed.), Dinasztia, 336344.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 159


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

urban settlement.13 Consequently, taking into consideration all the seven groups
mentioned so far, roughly two hundred urbanised centres should be taken into
account within the territory of the medieval kingdom of Hungary. However, for
the preparation of the following overview of the town halls, out of these only
fifty (the royal free and mining towns and a few selected market towns) were
consulted. The geographical majority of the examples (besides the few Transyl-
vanian ones) falls to the north, north-west and north-east. Also [m]apping the
urban network of medieval Hungary reveals conspicuous gaps, since most of the
[above-listed] towns lay north of a line drawn through Sopron, Buda, Gross-
wardein and NeustadtFrauenbach with only a handful being south of it. Not
only the Great Plain, but also Transdanubia, though relatively densely popu-
lated, preserved a predominantly rural character.14 And the market towns fill
out the empty regions with few or no superior (royal) towns, where in fact the
real town hall buildings are later phenomena, as will be seen. In addition, dur-
ing the Ottoman advance and occupation of the late sixteenth century in an
even larger middle part of the kingdom, all the medieval public buildings (not to
mention the sources) disappeared or were transformed to serve Ottoman urban
life. Thus, in the following, it will come as no surprise that with a few exceptions
most of our examples of town halls will leave aside Central (the actual territory
of present-day) Hungary.
As a background to the town halls, presenting the character of self-govern-
ment and the history of the urban administration in the towns discussed is not
in any way the central question of this study,15 hence only a few general elements
should be highlighted. The first is that although one should not return to the
categorisation of the towns exclusively on a legal basis, self-government (and in
connection with that the establishment of an independent and politically also
demonstrative erection of a town hall) can be considered only in those commu-
nities which not only gained but also in the long-term preserved their privileges
and enjoyed a high(er) level of political independence, too. Thus, most of the
market towns despite their centrality and economic significance had only
a rather limited self-governance and were more dependent on their ecclesiasti-
cal or secular lords. Still, those with certain urban privileges had the right to
elect a town judge (iudex, richter) and together with him by the end of the four-
teenth century usually four to six, later ten to twelve councillors (jurati, consules,
seniores, ratsherren) headed the community, but in many cases the election itself
was limited, either to a small circle of eligible burghers or by the influence of the
lords. Consequently, more or less the legally defined civitas, the different types

13 Scholars usually consider out of the roughly eight hundred oppidium approximately hundred and twenty
to qualify as belonging to the circle of towns. See Kubinyi, Vroshlzat a Krpt-medencben, 130;
Bcskai, Vrosok, 3140. In addition for a short summary on the market towns: Engel, The Realm of
St. Stephen, 261264.
14 Engel, The Realm of St. Stephen, 261.
15 The most recent summary can be found in a comparative manner for all the important urban centres of
Hungary in Goda, A soproni vrosvezet, 58131.

160 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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of the free royal towns and the more significant royal mining towns enjoyed a
much more independent (sometime limited only by the community itself to a
smaller circle of eligible elite burghers) and self-assertive local political setting.
In most of the cases, the town judge was also the leader of the community but
headed a more differentiated form of urban government, and in very few cases
a lord mayor (magister civium, brgermeister) also appeared among the political
leaders which, however, was not a widespread phenomenon in the kingdom
and took over the position of the first leader (e.g. Hermannstadt, Schssburg,
Sopron, Pressburg). In addition to the main leader(s), the twelve inner council-
lors (in rare cases more in number, e.g. Kronstadt sixteen) and the outer council
formed the governance. Nevertheless, among the members of the earlier body,
certain special functions appeared during the fifteenth century, so that the dif-
ferentiation of certain tasks can be observed (e.g. town chamberlain kammerer,
or town constable stadthauptman, and so on), while the latter body which in
early cases, documented usually around the end-thirteenth and early fourteenth
century, had a limited membership (twenty four people), and basically had a con-
trolling function became much larger in the early sixteenth century (with its
sixty Pressburg, Kaschau, seventy Eperies, or a hundred Buda, Klausen-
burg, Kronstadt or Bistritz members) with an enlarged circle of authority and
in most of the cases also became the elective body of the whole community.16
All these fifteenth-century transformations certainly influenced those changes of
the end-fifteenth and early-sixteenth century that concerned the medieval town
halls; this can only be ascertained and demonstrated from the sources in a few
cases.

The narrow windows the sources, their types and relevance


to the history of town halls
Keeping all this in mind, let us browse through the most frequent written source
types in which the medieval town halls appeared and which can with or with-
out excavations and wall research help us to reveal scraps about their history,
their chronology and/or topography. One valuable source type about the origins
(as well as the move or enlargement) of the town hall buildings are those char-
ters in which land, a burgage, or more frequently a burghers house or a part of
it was (rarely) donated or (often) bought by the community itself for the pur-
pose of a town hall. For example, in case of Sopron, King Sigismund of Lux-
emburg with his charter issued on 10 December 1422 in the nearby Pressburg
for the merits of the burghers donated an urban house opposite the Franciscan

16
Goda, A soproni vrosvezet, 9296, with further references. However, see also e.g. Kubinyi, Zusam-
mensetzung, 103123; R ady, Medieval Buda; Gndisch, Das Patriziat; Flra, From Decent Stock,
212216; Goda Majorossy, Stdtische Selbstverwaltung, 62100; Nmeth, Kassa vros archontol-
gija, 714; Kuzma, Besztercebnya.

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Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

monastery in the centre iuxta domum Johannis Carnificis civis et incole to the
town for the purpose of a town hall, which house beforehand had passed into
royal property from a certain Viennese Jew named Wolf (either after his death or
in another way which was not detailed in the charter).17 Since this is the first time
we hear about the town hall (as a separate building) in Sopron, this act might
partially be taken as a royal initiative, though the donation itself happened at
the request of the lord mayor and the town scribe (ad supplicationis providorum
magistri civium et notarii civitatis). Two years earlier, the same council headed by
the lord mayor had still gathered in the house of Mathes Schadendorfer, the then
judge, in order to sit in judgement on a nobleman of the county, Benedict Niczk,
who earlier plundered the merchants of Sopron, and had underm essen mit verslos-
ner tr in der stuben arbitrated and beheaded the nobleman (nach dem urtail hat
man in kphff t) on the same spot.18 This act entailed consequences since the town
had no jurisdiction over the nobility; in 1422 the king first decided to behead
the burghers involved but later changed the punishment to a fine of three thou-
sand florins. This caused conflict within the town as the inner council shifted
the responsibility (together with the fine) to the whole urban community. Paral-
lel to these events, from 1410 onwards the conflict between the inner town and
suburban burghers deepened and the main charge against the inner councillors
was that the council did not keep regular accounting. Finally, in 1422 the same
lord mayor who had requested (and actually received) the land for the town hall
from King Sigismund as a clearance prepared a retrospective account for twelve
years. It is, therefore, also possible that the establishment of the town hall as
a separate public(!) building was partially an element of the more transparent
urban policy of the new leadership.19 This first building after 1422 was altered to
cater to the needs of a town hall, but already in 1459 the council moved on to a
house on the main square bought from a certain Katherina, the orphan daughter
of a tavern-keeper, Jakob Klarnauer.20 Though the location was central enough
(to some extent even more so than the later one), could be representational and
stood in full control over the main market square of the inner town, in 1497 the
town council nonetheless decided to move its hall once again to the final loca-
tion, namely to the corner burgage das egkhaus am platzs which until 1494
was owned by the noblemen21 Balzs and Flp Jnos, relatives of the former
17 [] quandam domum condam Wlf iudei, alias ut dicitur, Vyenne inonerati in eadem civitate nostra
et intra muros eiusdem ex opposito claustri fratrum minorum iuxta domum Johannis carnificis civis et
incole eiusdem civitatis habitam et adiacentem [] videlicet curia, domibus ac edificiis domorum tam
lapideis quam ligneis ac aliis cunctis eiusdem commoditatibus in superficie ipsius existentibus [] pro
domo iudiciali seu pretorio dedimus, donavimus et contulimus []; Hzi, Sopron I/2, 233234 (No.
266); Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 236. For the location see Dvid Goda Thirring
(ed.), Sopron belvrosnak, 358 (No. 79); Stdteatlas Sopron (2010).
18
Hzi, Sopron II/1, 165.
19 Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 234236.
20
3 January 1460: auss dem ratthawss in das new hat czogen, Hzi, Sopron II/4, 97; Mollay, A hrom
kzpkori vroshza, 239. For the location see Dvid Goda Thirring (ed.), Sopron belvrosnak,
161 (No. 49); Stdteatlas Sopron (2010).
21 The property was bought in September 1494 for a thousand florins; Hzi, Sopron I/6, 137140 (No. 126).

162 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

Image 1: The moving medieval town hall of Sopron


Cartography by Pter Bany a detail from the Stdteatlas Sopron (2010)

bishop of Eger and the royal chamberlain, Orbn of Nagylucse. Its faade faced
the main square, its side ran along the vegetable market and it was close to the
main gate of the inner town.22 This last move even had further symbolic signifi-
cance since the community had a decade-long history with the former bishop
who incurred debts to the town and never paid them back. Thus, the occupa-
tion of his former residence in Sopron demonstrated that the community won
the game against him postmortem.23

22 Mollay (ed.), Els telekknyv, 1; Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 243244. For the location,
see Dvid Goda Thirring (ed.), Sopron belvrosnak, 49 (No. 3); Stdteatlas Sopron (2010).
23 Even the property register of the town documented this triumph; however, since it was opened before
moving to the new location, a later hand inserted the above described events into the first folio. Mollay
(ed.), Els telekknyv, 1; see also Szende, Egy gyri r, 59.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 163


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

Another example with an earlier date is the nearby Pressburg. There, the build-
ing bought later appeared in the sources as the new house which belonged to
the noble-born judge Jacob and later to his sons, Stefan and Paul in 1370 when
the shambles were moved behind it (hinter Stephans und Pauls dez alten richter
suns haus, daz do haizt das new haws).24 In 1387 the town bought the corner part
of this burgage more precisely a domum cum turri in medio dicte civitatis for
the purpose of a town hall (pro pretorio seu domo). The above-mentioned half of
the property was bought by the town for four hundred and forty seven florins,
not however, from the heirs of the judge but this time from a Jew from Mar-
chegg named Isaac who had possessed it as a pawned immovable.25 Neverthe-
less, until 1421, when the other half of the burgage was also bought,26 most prob-
ably no real town hall building process took place and the judges house was
used as beforehand for the council meetings. Not long after the second purchase
(around 1430/1434), the adjacent house of the judge of the 1420s, Hans Pawer, was
also attached to the growing building complex,27 as well as later on (probably in
the 1440s) lastly, the property of Andre Unger.28 The processes in the 1420s and
1430s might also be connected to Sigismunds intensive activity and presence in
the town or more closely with his plans to transform the town into his main resi-
dence29 close to all his three domains (a building of representation in favour of
the king and/or probably also demonstrating independence from him).
The earliest is, however, the foundation of the domus iudicialis in the arch-
bishopric town of Esztergom, which was also a free royal borough. There is a sur-
viving document from 1284 in which the chapter gave over a landed property to

24 1 April 1370, AMB, No. 273. For moving of the shambles, see Majorossy, Community, 910, 17.
25
[] personaliter accedentes presenciam providi viri Paulus Spyczer judex civitatis Posoniensis et Nico-
laus Plichntdiehell ac Johannes Lachuetel cives jurati [] ab una parte vero et alia Ysaac judeus gener
Jacobi judei de Marhekka eo tempore resideus in Moravia [] novo domus cum turri in medio dicte
civitatis situate [] pro quadringentis et quadraginta septem florenis in auro predicto Ysaac judo []
pro pretorio seu domo consilii rite et rationabiliter emptionis tytulo comparassent []. The document
is dated to 23 January 1387; AMB, No. 504. Jankovi, Excerpty, 2022 (with a wrong date); Holk,
Bratislavsk radnica, 18.
26 After the heirs of the judge Jacob, a certain Andreas Knoprautpawer from Tyrnau possessed the pro-
perty, also in pawn, subsequent to a previous owner called Eysnein Gater (1415) vulgo Eysnengetter
apellato who actually married the daughter of the judge Jacob (Anna vocata fi lia olym Jacobi judicis
felicis memorie de nova domo sita), and he sold to the town for fifty golden florins in 1421; see AMB,
No. 842 (1415); No. 929 (21 December 1421, the testament of Anna Gaterin); No. 931 (14 February 1421);
Jankovi, Excerpty, 2223; Holk, Bratislavsk radnica, 1819.
27 In this case no charter concerning the act has survived. It is assumed that he left his house to the town
(either in his life, or after his death). Hans Pawer was last judge in 1430/1431 and in the tax list of 1434
one finds his wife and in the same year already works are done on the town hall. For the judge position,
see Majorossy, Adalkok, under publication; for the tax list: AMB, No. 1369; for the accounts on the
works: AMB, Kammerrechnungen No. 1. In 1439 it already belonged to the town hall, since in the pro-
perty register it was listed it as due domus pretorii; AMB, 4.l.2, fol. 115r.
28 In the Grundbuch of 1439 Andre Unger is still named as the owner (AMB, 4.l.2, fol. 115r). However, in
the tax list of 1452 (AMB, 3.d.2, fol. 23r), the neighbour of the town hall was Peter Ebriger who as tes-
tified by the property register (AMB, 4.l.3., fol. 157v) lived next door to Unger. All this indicates that
the Pressburg town hall reached its final medieval phase approximately for the mid-fifteenth century.
In addition, a Viennese plan that was interpreted as being used for the Pressburg town hall also points
to the middle of the century: Fidler, Wiener, 714.
29 Szende, Between Hatred, 209.

164 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

around 1370

after 1422 around 1500

after 1442 after 1557

Image 2: The enlargements of the medieval town hall of Pressburg


Drawings by tefan Holk (Bratislavsk radnica, 1990)

the town in order to build (pro edificacione) its town hall there and in return the
Chapter was allowed to collect the customs it was entitled to everywhere within
the town and the council was even to help gather it. If the councillors failed to
do so, they were to give back the plot and should pay a hundred marks.30 The
burgage (or house) itself was supposed to be the collectors house.31 More about
it, however, is known only after the Ottoman times.
A last example is the late (and indirect) case of Debrecen, a growing market
town, becoming rich from the cattle-trade during the end-fifteenth and sixteenth
century in the eastern part of the kingdom. Among the very few stone buildings

30 [] quod domum iudicialem alias habere nullo modo poteramus, nisi in terra ipsius capituli, ubi ipsum
tributum exigi est consuetum, et idem capitulum ipsum locum seu terram pro edificacione domus iudi-
cialis civitatis nostre ad nostram supplicacionem nobis perpetuo iure concesserunt. Wenzel, UO IX,
411412 (No. 295).
31 Zolnay, A kzpkori Esztergom, 137. He located it under the castle, in the chapters part of the town.
For another idea see Gerevich (ed.), Towns, 32, who located it further away, in the royal town some-
where on the forum.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 165


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

of the settlement was the house of the well-to-do cattle-trading Tar family, which
was situated on the eastern side of the market street (today on the corner of Rose
Street) on the ground where the later Classicist town hall (on three earlier plots)
is still visible.32 In about 1527, a member of this family, which was ennobled by
King Matthias, Andrs Tar who in 1484 and 1509 was the main judge (iudex
principalis), left his wealth (together with the house in the town) to the Paul-
ines of Szentjobb.33 The town authorities reacted quickly and from 1531 onwards
took the so-called white house on lease from the monks and paid twenty flor-
ins yearly to them.34 Though the very next year they theoretically concluded an
agreement with the monastery in order to get out of the yearly obligation, and
as it was strengthened by the Chapter of Grosswardein the town was suppose to
pay nine hundred florins to the Paulines to get the full privilege over the house.
Nevertheless, practically the issue of this stone house at the frequented end of
the market came to an end only in 1580 when after another everlasting purchase-
deed, the main judge managed to finally take over for five hundred florins the
building of the domus senatoria or domus publica, as it was then called.35
Our next source type, when available for the period, is the urban Grundbuch.
This is, however, relevant only for a few urban settlements, since the medieval or
early modern property registers are seldom extant. The relatively early books pre-
served for Pressburg (1439) and Sopron (end-fifteenth century),36 as seen, helped
to establish the enlargement or the move of the town hall in these communities.
However, some of the later property registers can also be of a certain relevance
for the earlier period in those cases when archaeological and/or wall research was
done, for example, the one from the royal market town Kszeg (Gns) dated
to 1570 or even the post Turkish occupation landed property registration of the
bishopric town of Pcs (1695). Kszeg acquired the title of being a royal town in
1328, but in 1392 King Sigismund gave the town to Mikls Garai, the royal pala-
tine, and after 1445 it became the holding of the Austrian rulers. After the Otto-
man era, it was elevated among the later free royal towns in 1648. Nevertheless,
on the basis of the property register, the town hall building can certainly be con-
nected to the period when after defending Vienna against the Turks in 1532, the
real rise of the settlement started due to its exemption from taxes and other privi-
leges assured by Habsburg Ferdinand to the community as a trading station on
the route from Vienna to the Adriatic. Certain elements of the town hall build-
ing, still standing on the same place, and its wall research established that the
house was most probably built during the fifteenth century and at that time was
used as a burghers dwelling house. On one of its sides there was a narrow lane

32
Szendrey (ed.), Debrecen trtnete, 171, 198.
33 Szendrey (ed.), Debrecen trtnete, 213.
34
Bunyitay, A vradi, 473474. For the Paulines in Debrecen see also Romhnyi, A lelkiek, 52.
35 Szendrey (ed.), Debrecen trtnete, 171, 213.
36
AMB, 4.l.2., fol. 115r; AMB, 4.l.3., fol. 157v; Mollay (ed.), Els telekknyv; see also Goda Majo-
rossy, Stdtische Selbstverwaltung, 84, 9596.

166 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

which allowed people to walk to the town walls and towers. The location of the
building is next to gate which led to the market square, like the third town hall
in nearby Sopron.37
With respect to Pcs, the matter is somewhat more complicated. Its medieval
documents largely perished during the Ottoman occupation. Consequently, it is
very difficult to reconstruct the medieval look of the town and its buildings. A
town hall building process, already on the site of todays neo-Baroque monument
on the lower corner of the main square, could first be documented in 1698. The
landed-property registration of 1695 behind this building, between two, storey-
houses registered a ruined urban (town) tower (stadtturm). Thus, certain schol-
ars suppose that this probably belonged to the medieval town hall which then
also stood nearby.38 On the other hand, during the 1970s a medieval burgher
house was excavated not far away from the above location, on the other, smaller
market square, where the excavator turned up archaeological findings (e. g.
part of a papal bull) and objects (e. g. richly decorated Venetian glasses, medi-
eval stove-tiles) on the basis of which he suggested that this house was probably
the fifteenth-century town hall of the community.39 Nevertheless, both hypoth-
eses might have relevance, as we have seen the moving medieval town hall type
in Sopron, which may have been the case in other towns as well. At the same
time, neither can the possibility be excluded that the move happened only after
the Ottoman times and that earlier the given tower served merely as a market
tower, or alternatively, that the medieval town hall was really here, and the rich
burghers house was no more than an elite house, perchance the judges house.
The only remaining question is whether any of these alternatives happened in the
fifteenth or in the sixteenth century.
As a probable parallel, in another bishopric town, in Gyr a separate build-
ing for the town hall might only have appeared in the sixteenth century, partially
perhaps on the initiative of the bishop. This is not surprising if we note that after
1447 the town was under the close control of the bishop and the chapter, which
also meant that although the judge and the twelve (lifetime) councillors were
elected by the burghers, the chapter always approved the choice.40 According to
certain scholars the first (most probably early modern) town hall used in Gyr
was a house (standing on the site of the eighteenth-century house of the Chap-
ter musicians) in the later Nuns Street in the close vicinity of the bishops castle.
On the other hand, a ruined building was mentioned as having been given over
in 1550 by the Chapter to the town for twelve years in order to build a new house
for the town hall to which they moved in 1562.41 At the same time, a Grund-

37 VaML KFL, Stadt Gnss Grundbuch 1570, 97 (No. 50); Benkhard, Kszeg, 153; see also Bariska,
Kszeg.
38 Madas, Pcs-belvros telkei s hzai, 639, 642; Fedeles, Eztn Pcs tnik szemnkbe, 88.
39
Janus Pannonius Mzeum (JPM), Rgszeti Adattr 2088/2007; Krpti, Pcs, 157159; Fedeles,
Eztn Pcs tnik szemnkbe, 9596.
40
Lengyel Jenei, Gyr, 95, 129.
41 Sry, A gyri vroshza, 7.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 167


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

und Hausverzeichnisse for the town was preserved in Vienna from 1564, when the
defence system (the walls and bastions) of the early modern fortress town was
planned, together with a registration three years later as well as a later list which
gives the beschreibung aller deren personen so ihre vor dem verlust Raab aigenthum-
bliche gehabte, ererbte an sich erkauff te und erherathe heser in ihre posses zuha-
ben begehren. And in this, the town hall (hungerischen rathauss) was already men-
tioned as a locating element, as the neighbour of the Kapra family (Istwan and
the butcher Paull),42 in its later known site on the north-east corner of the medie-
val market place. Its earlier measurements were described before the mid-eigh-
teenth-century transformation in the property register of 1703.43
Parallel to the property registers, in some cases extant medieval urban tax
registers can also be of use, but mainly only in situations when somebody lived
in the town hall building and had to pay their tax there. This was the case, for
example, in Tyrnau, where the tax register of 1538 mentioned a certain pistor in
pretorio,44 or in the Pressburg register of 1430 in which the nova domus civita-
tis appeared only because a certain Mert Melweis paid tax there as an inhabi-
tant.45 Interestingly enough, in the latter town the register from 1452 also listed
the domus pretorii without any inhabitant (most probably as a reference element
on the tax-collecting route).46 On the other hand, usually those who worked for
these town halls (and might occasionally have also lived there) such as, for exam-
ple, the town scribe (statschreiber), the armourer (puchssenmaister), the tower-
watch (statturmmeister), the hangman (zuchtinger), or the carrier (statwagnknecht)
do not pop up in these tax registers but more often in the town account books.
The most frequent source types, though, are the account lists and books that
contain short usually not at all detailed entries about smaller works done on
the town hall buildings or reports about the fact of certain payments or actions
executed in them. For certain towns, these entries are the first medieval refer-
ences to the existence of a separate building. (More extensive accounts are avail-
able, e.g. for Sopron, Pressburg, Tyrnau, Eperies, Bartfeld, Hermannstadt and
Kronstadt).47 One finds entries, for instance, about the costs of several repa-
rations (e.g. repairing the roofs, painting the windows, making stoves, differ-
ent transports to the building of wood, candles, wine, and so on) done on the
house(s) itself/themselves as the analysis of the Sopron account entries testifies.48
42 Gecsnyi, Gyr, 84 (neben dem rathaus), 88 (unterhalb des ungarischen rathauss).
43
Sry, A gyri vroshza, 7.
44 Bottankov, K topografii, 90.
45 AMB, No. 1172, fol. 4r.
46 AMB, 3.d.2., fol. 23r.
47 For Sopron see the source edition series of Jen Hzi which also contains the accounts; Hzi, Sopron,
passim. On the account books of Pressburg see Goda Majorossy, Stdtische Selbstverwaltung,
9697. For certain edited accounts for Bartfeld: Fejrpataky, Magyarorszgi, 163617; for additio-
nal references see also Ivnyi, Brtfa III. For the Eperies documents, including the accounts: Ivnyi,
Eperjes III. And for certain edited accounts for Tyrnau: Fejrpataky, Magyarorszgi, 102144. For
Kronstadt: Rechnungen aus Kronstadt IIII. For Hermannstadt: Rechnungen aus Hermannstadt.
48 Kroly Mollay in his article collected in two tables all the works listed in the accounts concerning the
town halls: Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 240242 (for the first town hall), 246 (for the third

168 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

The different parts and rooms of the building might also be mentioned, with the
help of these documents one can peep for example into the whole building com-
plex of Pressburg.49
The account of Eperies, which is the only source for the appearance of the
pretorium itself (1429) in the town,50 later on also reveals a few such details, for
example, about the sun-dial that was painted and decorated on the outer wall of
the building (pictori de pictura spire horalegii et ymaginum vj fl. auri) in 1442, or
about reinforcing the window of that room preserving the privileges of the com-
munity with an iron grid (pro cratere ad fenestram conservationis privilegiorum
[] et craterem fenestre coloravit) in 1510 as well as the painting of an unknown
subject ordered for the council room to be hung up (pro tabula iudicii and pro
appensione tabule) in 1511.51 Nevertheless, it is more frequent that the works ful-
filled are not indicated, but only the type of work(er)s and the paid sum is noted
as, for example, the lapicidis pro labore in capitolio den. xxvj in 1522.52
In a very few exceptional instances, such Kammerrechnungen recorded
the whole building, or rather re-building, process usually after a great fire or
other destruction as did, for example, the accounts for Bartfeld between 1505
and 1513,53 where at that time, the council decided to erect a more representa-
tional home for itself and as an extraordinary illustration of a late medieval town
hall, the then enlarged and decorated house in the middle of the main square is
still visible today. The account books also provide us with the earliest dates on
the town hall in the 1420s.54 In neighbouring Leutschau as well as in Kaschau,
the sixteenth-century account books are more detailed with respect to the town
halls, since in both settlements great urban fires during the mid-sixteenth-cen-
tury destroyed not only a huge part of the earlier documents but also the medie-
val town hall buildings, and their re-building was then better documented, inter

town hall). Certain costs concerning the move to the second town hall building are to be found in the
published accounts of the given year of 1459/1460: Hzi, Sopron II/4, 77103 (No. 8). E.g. den offen in
dem [neu] rathawss hott gemcht or dem vasczeher von dem perkrecht, das man auss dem rtthawss
in das new hot czogen iiii gros., Hzi, Sopron II/4, 97.
49
R akovszky, Pressburger Rathhaus, 318; see also later.
50 Ivnyi, Eperjes I, 132 (ad stubam pretorii1429); MMP, No. 153. In an article, Bla Ivnyi gave the ear-
lier date of 1424, most probably on the basis that a town book of mixed content was opened in that year,
but in the given year no reference could be found for the town hall itself, therefore one can only state
that it existed since pre-1429; Ivnyi, Eperjes ptkezsei, 114. The town book is in MMP, No. 133, also
in MOL, Df. 282529, and partially edited in: Ivnyi, Eperjes jegyzknyve, 118133, 161184. In his ana-
lysis of this town book, he collected the references for the town hall, but they are later (1447, 1495, 1498);
Ivnyi, Vzlatok Eperjes jogletbl, 226227 (note 7).
51 Ivnyi, Eperjes festi, 89, 100, 101.
52 Ivnyi, Eperjes kfaragi, 33.
53 These entries on the town hall are edited as an appendix in Mik, A brtfai vroshza, 3648.
54
The first explicit entries are from 1428 (ad gradus pretorii, una mensa ad stubam pretorii, pro lig-
nis ad stubam, pro seris ad praetorium, concessimus eisdem videlicet rwland), Fejrpataky, Ma-
gyarorszgi, 263, 268, 273, 276, 279. Nevertheless, if we supposed that a clock tower that was mentioned
earlier belonged to it, in that case there is a reference already in 1419 (ad horologium), Fejrpataky,
Magyarorszgi, 182.

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Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

alia, by the accounts.55 The one in Leutschau was destroyed by the fire in 1550
(and also in 1599), and in diesem fer ist auch das rath-hauss abgebrant, mit allen
privilegien, registern, pchern, geld und alles was oben weil die gewelbr und mau-
ern eingefallen,56 and the present day town hall on the main square received its
appearance outlook afterwards, however, preserving its location, medieval form
(ground-plan) and some architectural elements.57 On the other hand, the after
the fire of 1556 aufgebauetes hauss or unerbawetes rahthauss of Kaschau in the mid-
dle of the market square (on the site of the much later, still-standing theatre
building),58 near the kaufhauss was mentioned not only in the accounts but also
in a Relationes prepared in 1603 for the Habsburg rulers.59
While in these north-eastern towns of the kingdom more intimate details
about the late medieval and early modern buildings themselves are revealed by
the accounts, in Tyrnau these are the sources which help us to date the founda-
tion of the town hall, or more precisely the shift between using the judges (or
alternatively one of the councillors) house and that of the towns house for the
meetings of the council for judgement or in this particular case for administer-
ing the financial issues of the community. In the Registrum civitatis rationum et
debitorum maius (13971455), there are several entries for each year between 1400
and 1412 testifying that the judge and several councillors gathered in domo iudi-
cem civitatis/aput iudicem/in stuba inferiori iudicis or occasionally in the house of
one of the councillors (e.g. in 1400 in stuwa nova Petri Heynczmanni in presen-
tia iuratorum, in 1411 in presentia iudicis et iuratorum in domo Kyseling).60 Finally,
on 2 November 1413 in the same manner as before, they administered the taxes
in domo consilii and until 1423 this was always noted down.61 This building then
was already on the same plot on the platea porta (platea magna) inferioris further

55 In Kaschau, the first surviving indications for the town hall are available in account entries from the
1460s, although it must have been in existence much earlier (probably already back to the end-fourteenth
century). See Kemny, Kassa, 10, 14, 15 (Item illac dederunt ad hospitale de pretorio; auff das rathaus
den lonherrn). Otherwise, the account books are continuously available after 1547, AMK, Coll. H. III.
(List of town books). For the account in the year 1556, see Mihalik, Kassa, 160171.
56
Exerpta ex Chronicis Specus, in: Wagner, Analecta, II. 16 (Anno 1550 den 7. Juni).
57 Th is town had less accounts, but a narrative for the period and the building still reflects its medieval and
early modern elements; Henszlmann, Lcse rgisgei, 152161; Demk, Lcse, 185, 187, 196201.
58 Mihalik, Kassa, 160; Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 82. It is still visible there on several eighteenth-cen-
tury maps (e.g. 1747, 1749, 1754, 1780). E.g. MOL, Trkptr [Map Collection], Antal Svajcers Map and
Drawing about Kaschau in the 1780s Years. As opposed to this, Gyrgy Granaszti located only the
market hall (Crom) in the middle of the square and indicated the sixteenth-century town hall building
on the eastern side of the square in the same line, where the so-called old town hall is to be found in the
eighteenth century (after another fire again destroyed the building); Granaszti, A vrosi, town map.
For the later history as well as for the move to the side building, see Wick, Kassa, 253 (in antiquam
domum praetoriam), 463.
59 Ducho (ed.), Relation, 97 (fol. 96), 119 (fol. 125).
60 Fejrpataky, Magyarorszgi, 113122 (on each page several similar entries). For a later edition see
R bik, Mestsk, 156184.
61 Fejrpataky, Magyarorszgi, 123 (1413), and the other examples afterward 124128 (in 1418: in dem
rothaus), 130; R bik, Mestsk, 185186, 189198, 257.

170 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

down from the market square, where it is to be found today with its much later
outfit.62
Our last examples for the account registers are from Transylvania. Although
Bistritz was a free royal town from 1330 onwards, in 1453 on the hill above the
settlement Jnos (Corvin) Hunyadi built a castle for himself. During the tur-
bulent year of 1457, the community had serious military fights with his father-
in-law, Mihly Szilgyi, who burnt down Bistritz after the burghers rebellious
actions against him. Consequently, the earlier town hall on the western side on
the corner of the market square was also seriously damaged and had to be rebuilt
afterwards. First the town fortification had to be concluded (14651484), but
then the account lists from 1487 onwards continuously report on certain works
done not only concerning the renovation of the towns common house itself but
also on the new church tower standing in the middle of the square, which for
lack of a separate stadtturm was also used as such, and in 1519 the council even
put the clock there.63
Like Sopron, the council in Hermannstadt used three buildings as town halls
during the medieval and early modern period (until 1545). In an agreement in
1457 between the council and the church master of the parish church about read-
ing masses, the pretorium was mentioned in a tower (ratturm) which was the
gate tower leading to the upper town connecting the upper small market and the
lower larger-scale market, thus controlling both of them.64 Nevertheless, in the
years of 1495, 1496 and 1497 the account books testify that further away, next to
the Priesterturm, a new building (novum edificum) was elevated for the com-
munity (this actually meant that the so-called Gulden-house was transformed)
and since the last entries already speak of the painted flag for the building, it was
supposed that from 1497 onwards the council met there. And finally, the former
palace of Thoman Altemberger the mayor65 (a bit farther away from the first loca-
tion) was taken over and was used as a town hall after 1545.66 It should be noted
at this point that, similarly to Hermannstadt, the pretorium civitatis of Schss-
burg was also located in the clock-tower above the main gate leading to the upper
town, here however throughout the whole medieval period (till 1575).67

62 R bik, Mestsk, 115; Bottankov, Adalkok, 262267.


63
Entz, Erdly ptszete, 185; Dahinten, Bistritz, 6768 (about the town fortification), 213214 (neue
kirchtum als Wachtturm), 217 (Turmuhr). For the topography: Niedermaier, Stdtebau I, 126127;
II, 116, 201.
64 [] in turri pretorii et consistorii oppidi Cibiniensis personaliter constituti Oswaldus magister civium
et iurati consules [] ac vitricus parochialis ecclesie []; Seiwert, Kirchenbuch, 403404. As is noted
by Gza Entz, the account register already speaks of the three gate towers in 1413, thus the ratturm men-
tioned could have already been in use in the Sigismundian times; Entz, Erdly ptszete, 401.
65 Gndisch, Aus Geschichte, 128148.
66 [] pro lapidibus magnis ad fundamentum novi edificii in teatro civitatis fl. 2 (1495); ligna empta pro
novo edificia in magno circulo [] (1496); magistro Valentino pictori pro labore vexillorum in novo
edificio sue domo fl. 1. (1497); Rechnungen aus Hermannstadt, 197198, 226, 237, also 256257; Entz,
Erdly ptszete, 401. For the topography: Niedermaier, Stdtebau I, 183184; III, 113, 200.
67 Its first mention is relatively late, in 1495, but the tower itself is a fourteenth-century monument; Entz,
Erdly ptszete, 438. According to a council decision of 1517, an old custom is reinforced that all the

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 171


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

1) parish church
2) Dominicans
3) clock tower/town hall
4) hospital church

Finally, in Kronstadt it is supposed that the origins of the tower still stand-
ing today and the town hall building in the middle of the market square was a
bridge-tower of an earlier fortification which already stood there before the fif-
teenth-century walls of the inner town were constructed. And in the early fif-
teenth century, the guild house of the furriers was built next to this tower, both
of which are testified to by a document from 1420. In the given year the furriers
allowed the town authorities to build an elevation to their guild house and to use
this first-floor extension to administer the legal matters of the town and to hold
the court there. The extensive accounts of the early years of the sixteenth cen-
tury (from 1515 onwards) detailed how the thirteenth-century tower was further
extended upwards, how the tower-clock on it was finished in 1528, and how the
western part was also enlarged.68

legal issues should be settled in the castle, and it is also known that certain guilds were there. Thus, the
location of the tower town house is also symbolic. After 1575 the town hall moved to the former clois-
ter of the Dominicans. Stdteatlas Schssburg (2000). See in addition also for the topography: Nieder-
maier, Stdtebau I, 313315; III, 131.
68
Rechnungen aus Kronstadt IIII. For the data on the town hall: Treiber, Das Rathaus, 163168; Entz,
Erdly ptszete, 86, 126, 179180; Nussbcher, Das Kronstdter Rathaus. For topography, see also

172 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

4
3
2

Image 3:

Left: The (clock) tower town hall of Schssburg


Drawing by Paul Niedermaier (Entz, Erdly, 1996)

Top: Town model in Town Museum

Right: The clock tower of Schssburg

Photos by Judit Majorossy

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 173


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

Similarly frequent are the charters of property purchases, donations or loans


secured upon properties in which the town hall sometimes appears, usually as
a (neighbouring or relating) location point for defining a given burgage (e.g. in
Buda, Sopron, Gyr, Eperies, and many others). Though such charters are more
useful for locating the urban houses provided the site of the town hall is already
known, one may still date the town halls existence with them. This was the case
in relation to Buda. The first extant written evidence of the town hall of the royal
capital of King Sigismund is that dating from 1397 when in the canonica visita-
tio register of the Esztergom canons Chapter, one finds an entry in which the
newly founded Saint Jeromes chapel beneficiary house was recorded in serie apa-
tecariorum ex opposito pretorii. Or before 1491 a certain Leonhard Fogelbayder,
burgher of Buda put in pawn his house quandam domum suam lapideam nostri in
medio non longe a pretorio.69 With the help of the available sources pointing to a
topographical location, such as the early fifteenth-century law book of Buda or
a wine-tax list from 1510 stating that it was on the Saint George market, on the
market square of the German part of the town with one side facing the German
parish church, it could actually be located on the same plot where the modern
town hall building later stood for a long time.70
Concerning the location of the town hall of Eperies already discussed above,
the regulations of the furriers guild dedicated to Saint Catherine issued in 1451
provide us with a key to place the building in the middle of the square and thus
to reveal parallels with neighbouring Bartfeld and Leutschau (and perhaps also
Kaschau). The guild documents are usually connected to the town councils (and
town halls) because they were the authorities backing up such regulations, but
in this particular text it was also stated in the entry about the falsification of fur
products that the false products should be burnt in the middle of the market
in front of the town hall.71 And in case of Eperies this is of crucial significance,
since the medieval building is not extant any more, and as is testified by this
document, it even changed its location, since the so-called old town hall build-
ing of the (mid or late?) sixteenth-century is on the eastern side of the market, on
the cross-axis street corner (today the building-complex even provides a gate for
this street creating a kind of passageway).72

Niedermaier, Stdtebau I, 198199; II, 164; III, 197.


69 Vgh, Buda II, 49 (No. 126), 123 (No. 125).
70
Kubinyi, Topographic growth, 142; Vgh Zdor, Topographie, 308; Vgh, Buda I, 7172.
71 Ittem auch solle ein jederman, der in der bruderschaff t ist rechtfertig khurschenwerckh machen. Were
es sach, das ein unczeittige wahr, merliczen oder wie sie gefellschet mchte sein [] wurde man nemen
solche gefellschte wahr unnd sie verbrennen mitten auf dem markcht for dem rath hausz []; MMP,
No. 260/I; see transcribed in Ivnyi, Eperjes I, 157160 (13th February 1451).
72 Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 98 (though it does not indicate the buildings). The later building is to be seen
near the so-called Neptune fountain: Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 918919. Behind this house,
on a property that was bought from a councillor burgher, Peter Molera, the town built a weynhawsz and
the costs are extensively recorded, first three years after a fire in 1504 and then in 15101520; Ivnyi,
Eperjes II, 370, 398.

174 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

The last group of sources that should not be left out are the medieval (and
early modern) testaments. The testamentary bequests given to the town leaders
derlegen auf das rathaus or for the town hall zum paw parallel to the existing or
sometimes instead of the missing account book entries might help us to glean
further additions to our knowledge (not only concerning town halls, though,
but also about the fortification and any other public buildings). Such testaments
are available in larger number for Sopron, Pressburg and Eperies,73 or later (from
the sixteenth century) also in Kaschau and some Transylvanian towns. Unfortu-
nately, it was more frequent to leave the money to the town (gemainer stat) with-
out any further clarification about its usage. Nonetheless, some burghers speci-
fied the details, for instance in Kaschau Johannes Seydel natus Stephani Seydel
notarii olim Kaschoviensis, who as a literate person enriched, the town hall library
with libri antiquis patris (1522), which is the sole information about the existence
of a library (besides the archives) in the town halls.74

The space in and around the town halls usage and topography
Such documents testifying to the different activities of the Rathaus, charters
declared to be issued there or descriptions of the court events and judgements tak-
ing place in the building, or any other special events happening in the building,
are unfortunately not so frequent in the written material. There are, of course,
exceptions when either indirect small details or some descriptions can be read in
certain town books (usually accounts or sometimes law books). For instance, the
already cited law book of Buda revealed a few small everyday life elements con-
cerning the role and place of the town hall in the community. Without the inten-
tion of retelling all of them, it is certain from the document that in Buda the
judge together with the councillors kept court days on Mondays, Wednesdays
and Fridays, while the council meetings took place on Saturdays, and the town
hall bells were rung if the jury should exceptionally gather to discuss an urgent
issue. It was also written down that anyone swearing to any matter was supposed
to do his oath in front of the council, taking his hat off and being unbelted.75 At
the same time, virtuous ladies were supposed to take their oath at home, while
the market-women were asked to come to the town hall.76 The mortgage-letters
of the Jews should be shown yearly and read in the town hall building before

73
See e.g. Szende, Gemainer Stadt, 495501, especially a selection of examples for Pressburg in the appen-
dix.
74 [] in habitacione doleatoris ad penes lecti est cista, in ea continentur libri antiquis patris, qui videri
dent, qui pro civitate alicuius utilitatis sint, ad pretorium dentur, AMK, No. 1038; edited: Kemny,
Kassa vros levltrbl II, 384386.
75 Benda, A kereskedelem topogrfija, 85.
76
Mollay (ed.), Das Ofner Stadtrecht, 164 (No. 315).

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 175


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

the court, otherwise they lost their validity.77 It was also mentioned that if a
foreigner or anyone with no relatives was killed in the town, before burying him,
the corpse was to be transported to the town hall in order that the town judge
could play the role of a family member and enforce the rights of the deceased.78
In addition, as is commonly known, the town halls also controlled the market
activity, and this is one of the main reasons why they are usually on or near the
market square. Accordingly, the above-mentioned Buda law book described in
detail how and where the different marketers were supposed to sell their goods
in the vicinity of the town hall.79 And it also gave details, for example, about
the punishment of those market-women who quarrelled with each other. They
were shamed by having to walk from the town hall building through the market
behind the Saint George chapel and back, while carrying a brick (bagstain) on
their back and being mocked by the market woman who suffered the insult with
a stick without laughing. If the woman who had been insulted laughed, they had
to exchange roles.80 Similar examples (usually not so detailed) and other smaller
daily life elements can be quoted from certain other towns as well, e.g. from
Sopron, Pressburg, Eperies, or early modern Neusohl.81
On the other hand, as regards festive events, there are rare cases when a
few references (usually indirect) also explicitly mention the town halls as, for
instance, on the occasion of the royal visits, public plays or urban processions.
These entries in account books recorded the practical side of such events, like
cleaning the square in front of the town hall, buying candles, paying the trum-
pet players or the guarding soldiers, buying food or wine for the meal, and so on.
In 1434, for instance, it is known that in honour of King Sigismund the Press-
burg town hall was lit up with lanterns and the ruler had a feast there.82 In the
early years of the sixteenth century, on the other hand, there is data from Eper-
ies that sometimes Humanist school dramas, such as the comedies of Plautus,
were put on stage in the town hall itself.83 Earlier, both in Buda and Pressburg,
a few details are revealed concerning the Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) proces-

77 De juden sullen alle ire phant prieff ainsten yn dem jar auff pieten vor gerichte auff dem rathau unnd
der richter sol den mensschen das lossen wissen, uber welchen de prieff sagent, auf da d posen juden
mit arger list icht de christen ummb ir erb pringen. Unnd d vor halten prieff sullen fur pa nichten
craft habenn, Mollay (ed.), Das Ofner Stadtrecht, 127 (No. 196).
78
Mollay (ed.), Das Ofner Stadtrecht, 174 (No. 374).
79 Benda, A kereskedelem topogrfija, 8694.
80 So sch dy fragnerin [market-women] entreden auf dem freyenmargkt miteinanderr mit lasterrparen,
schentlichen scheltworten bel handelt, und klag fr gericht kmbt, weliche dan mit dem rechtenn
berwunden wirt, d sol den bagstain tragen ber ir achsel auf dem rugk von dem rathaus hin umb fr
Sand Iorgen kirchen und hin widerr zu dem rathaus, das sol ir puess sein und nicht anders; Mollay
(ed.), Das Ofner Stadtrecht, 115 (No. 155); Benda, A kereskedelem topogrfija, 87.
81 Kirly, Pozsony; Ivnyi, Vzlatok Eperjes jogletbl; Kuzma, Besztercebnya. About the later rituals
concerning the election and town halls: Nmeth, Az nigazgats, 5362; Nmeth, Pre-Modern State
Urban Policy, 286289.
82 Item umb ij lb. kerczn inn d lateren auff dem rathaws dem kaser zu eren und dem jungen herczogen
j lb. d., AMB, Kammerrechnungen No. 1 (1434), fol. 88r. Th is first account book of Pressburg is full of
such details since the book was opened in order to register the costs of the royal visit.
83
Guitman, A brtfai reformci, 43.

176 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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sion as well as referring to the mystery plays or other spectacular performances


that were performed in the vicinity of the building.84 In Buda, two small descrip-
tions have survived, one is a report of an envoy of Modena and the other one
is a letter of the servant of a citizen of the town. They narrated how a spectacle
happened on Corpus Christi in and also next to the graveyard of the Our Lady
church (in front of the monsignores house as it was called), opposite the town hall
building.85
Other elements of the daily routine of medieval life in the town halls (besides
the types of information described so far), especially the several rituals concern-
ing the elections, the court keeping, the festive meals (apart from the accounts
themselves on the fact of the different meals organised in the town hall for
envoys, nobles, and others or as part of the election rituals and other festivities),
are hardly ever recorded by the sources. More often there was mention of certain
events which normally happened in or in front of the town hall but, for some
usually non-clarified reason, did not happen there, but somewhere else. For
example, in Pressburg long after the existence of the pretorium, the elections in
1444 were held not in front of its building (as most probably was customary, simi-
larly to the Buda ritual quoted at the beginning from the law book) but in the
courtyard of the nearby Franciscans.86 What might have been the reason behind
it is an open question. Either the politically turbulent times (due to the struggles
for the throne and the two kings ruling in parallel between 1440 and 1444) and
the fear of provocation inspired the councillors not to use an open space for the
great masses who gathered for the election, or the choice of the cloister was moti-
vated by something else, possibly the introduction of a new custom. It is hard
to tell since the place of the election was otherwise usually not indicated in the
documents. The latter possibility, however, is also not to be excluded since during
these years the political governing elite was changing its character and becoming
more concentrated. Thus, the choice of a more enclosed surrounding for the elec-
tion would also fit this explanation.87
Nevertheless, almost a century later in Klausenburg we meet with a simi-
lar phenomenon, namely changing the location of the election. In 1537 by a new
regulation, the ritual of council change was transferred to the cemetery of the
Saint Michaels parish church on the main square instead of the town hall.88 The
domus consulatus of the community first appeared in the sources a hundred years
previously (1438),89 and in the second half of the fifteenth century most probably
can already be identified with the location of the later building on the south-east
corner of this main market square with the above-named church in the middle,

84
Goda, Buda Festiva, 7275. For Pressburg: Majorossy, A Krisztus Teste, 273274.
85 Petnyi, Games, 4450.
86 AMB, Kammerrechnungen No. 7; see Majorossy, A polgri, 86.
87 Majorossy, A kzpkori vros kzigazgatsa [in print, 2013].
88
Flra, Between Sacred, 237242.
89 Jak (ed.), A kolozsmonostori, 102.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 177


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

where similarly to the other examples described above, a wealthy burghers house
could have been altered to serve the purposes of the town hall.90 For Klausen-
burg, the hypothesis is that with this choice, the burghers actually returned to
the medieval tradition of the open-air public ceremony which was changed only
in 1486 with a charter of King Matthias stating that in future the election had to
take place in the consistorium (as it called the town hall).91 Seemingly, the town
halls were sometimes fully involved and in other cases only partially (e.g. for the
festive meals on the day) during the election rituals.
In respect of other towns, one can also detect that occasionally the town hall
though in existence was alternatively replaced by another location. As earlier
seen in Eperies, the town hall was already long in use, but for certain reasons in
1452 the council met for decisions both in domo iudicis and in stuba domus preto-
rii.92 This, of course, could have happened elsewhere, too. It might also depend
on the character of the matters involved. From Knigsberg, for instance, it is
known that after the election of the new judge the judicial insignia were given
over to him in his own house and not in the town hall building otherwise sup-
posed. In this particular case, nevertheless, it is hard to decide whether this was
so due to the election ritual (it being a common phenomenon also to involve the
living space of the newly elected leader) or whether it means that, since there are
no direct source references to the existence of the town hall, there was actually
none. The ritual might have also happened in the judges house because accord-
ing to another supposition the medieval town hall building perhaps served as the
seat of the royal chamber court, too.93 In this case the choice of the judges house
during the election ritual also had a demonstrative function.
At the same time, the shift from the judges house or any other inner coun-
cillors house94 used for community purposes to the actual towns house as it
were in the early fifteenth century, does not mean that there was a great change
in the monuments themselves. Since in many cases these buildings were bought
from the burghers, these town halls must have looked similar to any other mer-
chants house in the town. Though the sources allow us only in a very few cases
to find out how these town halls were transformed after the purchase (e.g.
Sopron, Pressburg, Hermannstadt), it is known with respect to the first town
hall of Sopron that the later council room was most probably an adaptation of
the former dining hall (mshaus).95 It can be supposed that in the first decades
of their existence (in certain towns not even until the early years of the sixteenth

90
Flra, Jelkp, 149165. For the location, see Flra, Between Sacred, 239; Niedermaier, Stdtebau I,
136137.
91
Flra, Between Sacred, 242.
92 Ivnyi, Vzlatok Eperjes jogletbl, 227 (veniens nostra in presencia in domo dicti iudicis; in stuba
domus pretorii in sede nostra sedissemus venientes).
93 Relkovi, jbnya magistratusa, 596; Lexikon stredovekch, 296, 305.
94
Whereas from certain early accounts, for example, in Tyrnau or Schemnitz it is known that before the
existence of the town hall not only the judges house but occasionally one of the councillors houses ser-
ved as a setting for meetings; Fejrpataky, Magyarorszgi, 2338 (Schemnitz), 113122 (Tyrnau).
95 Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 237.

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century, e.g. Bartfeld, Kronstadt, and in other cases even late sixteenth century)
most probably only such inner alterations and decorative additions to the faade
were carried out as did not involve any major investments.96
The inside space of such medieval town halls, more precisely the different
type of rooms and other buildings on the burgages themselves, can best be sur-
veyed in the extensive account books where such are available. For Pressburg and
Sopron, this work has already been partially done by earlier scholarship.97 Con-
cerning the Pressburg town hall during the fifteenth century, one can read about
a great variety of rooms: the small and great council rooms (klein und grossn
[rath]stubn), the latter being most probably identical with the one for the outer
council (gemain stubn), the working room of the town scribe (statschreiber zym-
mer), which in Sopron was sometimes denoted as the public room (off ne schrann)
where the burghers themselves came to lodge accusals or for the announcement
of the judgement (kommen in off ne schrann) and in relation to this there was the
judges room (ratschrann).98 The documents produced must have been kept and
preserved somewhere,99 thus there was also an archives room, and in Pressburg,
as the latest evidence shows, the town archives were housed until recently in the
old medieval town hall. From Eperies, however, we have an entry (1510) about the
room of privileges that was mentioned above with respect to the reinforcement
of its windows to keep the documents safe.100 It seems to be an exceptional case
that in medieval Bartfeld the council chose to keep the municipal archives in the
sacristy of the parish church next door.101 Most probably it meant those privileges
which had extreme significance for the wealth of the city.
In addition to the spaces used for the court, there was a sacral space, a small
chapel (heiltum) which in Pressburg was most probably consecrated around 1443
as an entry in the accounts denoted the visit of the (arch)bishop of Esztergom
and for this reason it was lit (ein windlich dem Hanns Apotekher das man genutzt
hat zu heiligtum im rathaws als man dass dem pischof von Gran dass zaigt).102 As
for the other rather secular rooms, one also finds a chamber for the thirtieth col-
lector (dreissigist zimmer), the money-changer (mnzkammer, mnczhtten) and
another for the arms and weapons (pulwerkammer) as well as one for the mas-
ter armourer (puxenmeister kammer) and for the soldiers (sldner stubn, solderen
auff dem rathauss). Wine and also beer was kept in the cellar (im keller rothhaus
wein, pyerkeller), and the prison (gefangniss) and the detention room (scherigs-
tubn, schergenstube) was also down there. Concerning the prison and the deten-
96 Flra, Jelkp, 151.
97 Concerning the rooms in the town hall of Pressburg, the quotes are based partially on R akovszky,
Pressburger Rathhaus, 318, and partially on the authors own collection from AMB, Kammerrechnun-
gen. Nevertheless, a more systematic collection and analysis of the data from them is still to be done. For
Sopron see Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 237240, 245.
98 Mollay, A hrom kzpkori vroshza, 239, 244.
99 Szende, The Uses, 118120.
100 Ivnyi, Eperjes festi, 100101.
101
Szende, The Uses, 119.
102 AMB, Kammerrechungen No. 6 (5 July 1443); Jankovi, Excerpt, 26.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 179


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

tion room, it should, however, be noted that there is evidence from other towns
that such were not necessarily always in the town hall buildings. From Kaschau
and Eperies it is known that a separate building was somewhere farther away
from the town halls.103
Both in Pressburg and in Sopron these sources also testify that several urban
officials (the wagoners, the armourer, often the executioner, occasionally even the
scribe) not only worked but also lived in the town hall building itself, and some-
times were used in return as house-keepers. As an illustrative example, in Press-
burg the councillors once had to pay somebody to make the building warm for
them, stating that this cost arose because the executioner who must thus other-
wise have been responsible for the heating went on holiday.104
Further parts of the building complex that appeared in the sources were the
big kitchen (grossn kuchen), the denotation implying that there may also have
been a small one, the town hall water source, the well (brun im rothaws) in the
courtyard, where one could also find the dry or horse mill (rossmll im rathaus)
and a certain kefermll, whatever type of mill this might have been,105 as well as
the barn and the stables (schiur, schirig, stadl). Most probably the public scales
were also placed in the court (grossen wag im rathaus), though from other towns
this is known to have been outside the building and not inside as the source
indicates.106 Finally, the tower (ratthurn) and beside it, on the corner, the stocks
(stock am eck am rathawss) should be mentioned. In Pressburg, as has been seen,
this tower as a residential tower was the first property bought by the com-
munity to serve as a town hall. Nevertheless, the (watch) towers later such sig-
nificant elements of most of the town halls were not always a phenomenon
attached directly to the medieval buildings themselves. They could be built later
than the medieval period (then usually in early modern times) further away from
the town hall on the market square (e.g. Tyrnau) or next to the building as a
free-standing or separate monument (e.g. in Kaschau the Saint Orban tower was
built as a commemoration of the great fire in 1556),107 which in certain cases was
later attached to the town hall and became part of it (e.g. Leutschau, Kronstadt).
A nearby gate or church tower could be used as a watch tower for the town hall
(e.g. the gate in Sopron, Kszeg, Kronstadt; in Bistritz later the parish church
tower functioned as such, and this must have been the case in Bartfeld and Eper-
ies, too). Finally, the tower of a gate to the inner town could be used as the town

103
Wick, Kassa, 253; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 845 (the Miklush prison in Kaschau is today the
Town Museum). In Eperies the detention room (butel, bytelstube) was in the quartale sclavorum in the
Slavs part of the town where a warder was also kept (wechter dy gefangen gehutt); Ivnyi, Vzlatok
Eperjes jogletbl, 223; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 918.
104
[] er gehayczt hat die stben auf dem rathaws als der stat zuchtinger urlaub gehabt []; AMB, Kam-
merrechnungen No. 31 (1464), 50. For the same task of the executioner in Sopron see Mollay, A hrom
kzpkori vroshza, 239.
105 AMB, Kammerrechnungen No. 31 (1464), 5051.
106
A few examples of public scales in the Hungarian towns are to be found: Myskovszky, Brtfa, 121.
107 Wick, Kassa, 64.

180 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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hall itself (e.g. Hermannstadt, Schssburg, or as in case of Kremnitz a smaller


tower of the wall).
For several German towns, the Rathhauskeller as a tavern run by the town in
the town hall itself is an established phenomenon. Concerning the towns in the
kingdom of Hungary, urban wine, or beer in the north-eastern towns, was usu-
ally kept and correspondingly a tavern was run not in the town hall building itself
(there they usually kept the drinks for the feasts for themselves), but in another
burghers house, often on the market square, sometimes almost next door. In
Pressburg the so-called grnstbl on the opposite side of the square served as a
house for wine-keeping and its rooms were also let by lease to the burghers, but
this burgage was not fully in the property of the town, since members of the
town elite also appeared as owners in the land register.108 Also in Kaschau, Eper-
ies, Bartfeld, and Leutschau the weinschenke/weinhaus was located on the market
square, among the burghers houses in its side row (except in Eperies where it was
in the burghers house behind the later, non-medieval town hall complex bought
by the town in 1504),109 and it was also revealed that certain public affairs were on
occasion arranged in these town-owned urban taverns; thus they served as alter-
native locations for the town hall meetings.110 These taverns naturally served the
town halls as another source of income besides donations and the income from
the public buildings controlled or rented out by the town, such as, for exam-
ple, the cloth-cropper shops, sometimes the town-owned shambles, or the mills,
baths and the public houses.111
To round off the list of rooms inside and other spaces around the town hall
of Pressburg, one should not leave out the buildings that already belonged to
the marketing activity of the town, but were also connected to the town hall. In
front of the building on the main market square, one could find the shops of the
cloth-croppers (scheerladen) and several selling-stands (kramern) in other towns
also denoted as kaufhaus (e.g. Buda, Bartfeld, Eperies) or crom (e.g. Kaschau)
or the ones in the other square behind the building, the house(s) of the shambles
as well as the bread-selling stalls (fleischpenken und brotpenken).112 This reflects
rather impressively the market control by the town hall in Pressburg, and as
the account books testify the (stone) building housing the scheerladen and the
kramern was owned by the town, since the selling stalls inside were regularly
rented out. The town hall of Buda was so densely surrounded by such build-
ings of trade, such as the houses of the butcheries (shambles), the bakeries, the

108
For their civic proprietors: Ortvay, Geschichte II/1, 4950; for the public usage: AMB, Kammerrech-
nungen.
109
Ivnyi, Eperjes ptkezsei, 125.
110 For data from 1487 in Kaschau: Kemny, Kassa vros levltrbl I, 589 (stadtkeller), 591 (ad cella-
rum civitatis). For Bartfeld and Leutschau: Myskovszky, Brtfa, 71; Henszlmann, Lcsnek rgis-
gei, 22.
111
For such incomes one can find an enormous amount of examples in the accounts of Pressburg. AMB,
Kammerrechnungen; see Kovts, Pozsony, 433466. For the baths and brothels as sources of income
Majorossy, A test s a llek frdje, 350353.
112 For the shambles: Majorossy, Community, 28.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 181


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

Image 4: The medieval town hall of Bartfeld


Drawings by Viktor Myskovszky (Brtfa, 1880), photo by rpd Tth

apothecaries and book-sellers as well as the houses (also serving as the shops) of
the canvas sellers, that the originally rather large square in front of the town hall
almost disappeared. The most recent (partially archaeological and architectural)
research even identified certain surviving elements of these medieval stone build-
ings of trade on the houses of the castle hill.113

113
Benda, A kereskedelem I, 93120; Benda, A kereskedelem II, 2358; Benda, A piactl, 259282.

182 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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Turning our attention to the most representational (actually the single surviv-
ing) late medieval town hall building in the kingdom of Hungary, that of Bar-
tfeld, it can be investigated how the above-described kramern were actually incor-
porated into the town hall building itself. In Bartfeld, the first data about the
pretorio came down to us from 1428 when a certain sum was paid ad gradus preto-
rii, indicating that even at that time the house must already have been a two-sto-
rey structure. Similarly to the above examples of Buda and Pressburg, the stone
building of the shambles (pro ductura aedificiorum ad maxellas) was next door,
both structures standing in the middle of the square by the parish church.114 In
1501, Master Thomas of Neu Sandez from the neighbouring kingdom of Poland
wrote a letter to the town leaders of Bartfeld, saying: I have heard about your
plans to build a new town house and that you do not have a good master to
lead the works. Another letter arrived three years later from Simon Langh of
Kaschau in which he apologised for not being able to come at the request of the
councillors, but saying if they are about to start the town hall building project
they can count on his contribution. Notwithstanding, in the next year the town
signed a contract with a certain Master Alexander Stonemason (lapicidus), who at
that time intensively worked on the Saint Egidius parish church, to prepare shops
for the goods on the ground floor of the town hall building and also enlarge the
windows there: Facta est cum magistro Alexandro conventio ut nobis hostia vendito-
ria vulgo ladum et certas parvas fenestras pro praetorio ad loca inferiora. From this
contract, it seems that the already existing store rooms of the house were trans-
ferred into a kind of market shops or, as is even more plausible, they were already
also being used as such. From this year onwards, the town accounts each year
had a separate section for the pretorium with the expenses spent on the building.
The structure (the ground plan) of the Bartfeld town hall but likewise that of
Leutschau shows strong similarities with the stone buildings used for selling
goods in several other urban marketplaces, such as the ones that were mentioned
for medieval Buda.115 Thus, the function of the early sixteenth-century town hall
in Bartfeld was two-sided, besides its in any case multifunctional character. The
ground floor rooms were used for selling goods, the first floor served the council
meetings, and the huge attic space provided a storage room for linen (the main
locally produced good for market as Bartfeld together with Kaschau from 1424
held a privilege for linen-whitening).116
This building already had a whole iconographical program strongly influ-
enced by Humanism as it is full of inscriptions running around the walls inside
and outside (above doors). In 1511 a certain painter called Theophilus already
worked on the inner decoration, as he painted the Last Judgement scene, most
probably in the great council room although the accounts only say, that item The-
ophilo pictore de iudico picto fl. x. And in the same year it was also recorded that
114 Fejrpataky, Magyarorszgi, 236, 263.
115
Benda, A kereskedelem pletei III.
116 Kerekes, Kassa, 4; Hajnik, Adalkok, 145.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 183


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

Bartfeld, ground floor

Bartfeld, first floor

Image 5: The ground plans of the town halls of Bartfeld and Leutschau
Drawings by Viktor Myskovszky, Imre Henszlmann
(Myskovszky, Brtfa, 1880; Henszlmann, Lcsnek, 1878)

an almarium pro conservatorium litterarum privilegiarum was prepared by a cer-


tain joiner (mensator), Master Johannes.117 This four-door, inlaid book-cabinet is
still preserved in the town hall (museum) building. Since these privileges as
mentioned above were earlier kept in the parish church, this entry also indi-

117
All of these, including the earlier works of Viktor Myskovszky (Myskovszky, Brtfa) were summarised
by Mik, A brtfai vroshza.

184 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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Leutschau V ground floor W first floor

cates that the town archives in Bartfeld finally also moved into the town hall.
Though this late medieval, early Renaissance building in Bartfeld is the most
classical example for the medieval town halls within the kingdom of Hungary,
it has already lost its medieval character as regards the inside dcor apart from
the inscriptions. A few elements of the inner, medieval paintings of a town hall,
namely the fragmented frescoes of its above-mentioned chapel, were preserved
in Pressburg. As a central part of the medieval building complex, the chapel
is situated right next to the ratstube, actually above the medieval entrance gate

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 185


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

into the town hall.118 Here as well as in Bartfeld (and in a few other towns), the
accounts reported several orders concerning the painting of the tower and also
painting in the great hall, but unfortunately the subject of these paintings was
not much detailed. Remarkable is an entry from 1539 reporting that the council-
lors bought a mappa mundi in Vienna which was then hung on the wall of the
council room.119 Naturally, however, it was the inner decoration of the town halls
which changed most frequently, and much more can be investigated concerning
the early modern symbolism and iconography of them.120
Finally, up until now many examples have already been given for the topography
of those town halls that could be located for the medieval (early modern) times.
It was also seen that achieving a central (or final) location was by no means a self-
evident first step in all cases, although the topographical continuity of the medie-
val town halls in many cases can (or may) be established. As far as topography is
concerned, one can try to provide a kind of typology for the available examples,
while noting that, of course, each free royal, mining or ecclesiastical town is dif-
ferent in the light of its physical size and shape, its urban development, and its
inner situation and conflicts. Even though regional characteristics can be estab-
lished to a certain extent, certain parallel features might be highlighted (as was
already indicated, for instance, concerning the towers) and the towns might be
sorted into certain groupings.
There were towns where the early fifteenth-century town halls could be
located as standing on the market square itself, right beside the parish church,
as in the north-eastern neighbouring towns of Bartfeld, Leutschau, Eperies, and
Kaschau, or also in Transylvanian Kronstadt. In the early sixteenth century in
Eperies, the town hall was moved from the middle of the square to the side of the
Ring (and this also happened much later in Kaschau). The smaller-scale town of
Zeben also fits into this group, but in this case the fifteenth century town is even
less well documented.121 Similarly, the middle position may have been occupied
by the town hall in Pest (though there are no written sources in this respect, the
location is only hypothetical on the basis of archaeological excavations),122 or par-
tially in Buda, where however this was only the case in the fourteenth cen-
tury, since afterwards the square itself almost disappeared from around, while
the earlier selling stalls actually became stone market halls erected between Saint
Georges chapel at the one end and the town hall at the other end of the once
open space, thus transforming the topographical outlook of the whole square.123

118 Holk, Bratislavsk radnica, 2944.


119
R akovszky, Das Pressburger Rathhaus, 15.
120 Nmeth, Az nigazgats, 5961; Flra, Jelkp, 152159.
121
Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 101103; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 907; Lexikon stredovekch,
408.
122
Grdonyi, Pest, 115; Irs-Melis, A pesti, 88107; Irs-Melis, Traces, 235243. For the location, see
Irs-Melis, Der Wiederaufbau, 367.
123
Vgh Zdor, Topographie, 294295; Vgh, Buda II, 181185; Benda, A kereskedelem topogrfija,
87.

186 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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In other cities, the town halls were not in the middle but nonetheless on the
same smaller or larger (market) square where the parish church stood, and usu-
ally (as is known in some cases from later sources) in a side corner position.
Naturally, this is the most typical. For instance, this was the case supposedly in
Esztergom, Agram, Szkesfehrvr, probably also in Pcs if the town hall already
existed in the fifteenth century, and in the later early modern times (sixteenth
seventeenth centuries) also in Gyr and Vc. In addition, Klausenburg and Bis-
tritz can also be grouped here (as well as, for example, Skalitz where the later
location is assumed on the basis of continuity, since for the fifteenth century only
the tavern right of the town hall was documented124).
At the same time, the dominant element in certain towns being the market,
one finds these town hall buildings rather far away from the parish church, as
in Sopron (the second and third locations) and in Pressburg, as well as in Tyrnau,
Schssburg, or Schemnitz and Ksmark.
There is also a group of towns where the location is predominantly on one of
the axis high streets of the settlement, as is true partially in Bistritz (though it is
at the same time the corner of the market square), but more evidently in Debre-
cen and in Tyrnau. In the latter case as was mentioned, this sideway location was
later compensated during the sixteenth century (1574) with the erection of the
tower standing separately from the town hall right on the corner of the market
square.125 The market town of Ksmark can also be mentioned here, although it
stands (with its later appearance in the middle of the square which, however, is
not so much a true square as simply the junction widening of the two main
commercial streets.126
Both in Sopron and in Pressburg, a position between two market squares
(controlling both) and the presence of the Franciscans and not the parish church
on the main square show parallels, while Sopron can also be grouped together
with the nearby Kszeg as the town hall was not only on the main square but
also in the close vicinity of the main gate. With respect to the control of two
market squares, the fifteenth-century entrance gate, tower town hall of Her-
mannstadt can also be mentioned.
The tower town hall phenomenon in this rather peculiar form can also be
found in the Upper Hungarian mining towns as well as in certain, earlier men-
tioned Saxon towns of Transylvania, Schssburg and Hermannstadt. For exam-
ple, in Schemnitz, the medieval town hall was almost attached to the entrance
tower/gate of the town in the valley (like the earliest version of Kronstadt, though
for other reasons) and here the square is a later phenomenon.127 While in Krem-

124
Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 126129; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 9091; Lexikon stredovekch,
427428.
125
Bottankov, Adalkok, 266.
126 Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 112.
127
Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 4952; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 517, 524; Lexikon stredovekch,
5758.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 187


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

Image 6: The town hall in the mining town of Neusohl (map)


(Drawings from the Archv Mesta Bystrice, 1589)

nitz the town hall was on top of the hill in one of the towers surrounding the
church on the hill, practically it was part of this castle fortification actually until
the eighteenth century.128 This might have been partially in Neusohl though in
this case the story is somewhat unclear due to the loss of documentation, but it
seems that the Renaissance building renovated after the fire of 1554 had a medi-
eval predecessor in the same location as part of the urban town castle complex
north of the Ring and probably used a part of the tower entrance to the castle
where the royal chamberlain resided.129)
On the basis of the position of the medieval plot itself, on which the build-
ing used for town hall purposes was erected, one can also circumscribe a group
of examples be the building in the middle of the square or on a corner, be it
the tower/gate itself to which a kind of passage-way character can be ascribed
(Pressburg with its town hall with a passage between the two market squares, or
the towers serving simultaneously as pretoria and as gates in Kremnitz, Schss-
burg and Hermannstadt). In the case of those buildings standing in the middle
of a square and not in a row of other houses (e.g. Bartfeld, Leutschau, Kaschau,
Eperies, Kronstadt), on the other hand, the much more dominant visibility of
this representational symbol of the urban community can also be highlighted,

128 Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 134136; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 501, 507; Lexikon stredo-
vekch, 220.
129
R atkos, K topografii, 103120; Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 8487; Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia,
535, 537. For the elite burghers topography without the location of the town hall see also Kuzma, Besz-
tercebnya; Kuzma, Trhasznlat, 182; Lexikon stredovekch, 34.

188 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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together with the fact that in most of these cases the forms and functions
reflected the closest uniformity with the market hall building (kaufhaus), some-
times even integrating it.
As a last typological approach to grouping (or investigating), a few towns
from the medium regni can be mentioned, namely Vc, Visegrd, and Buda as
well as, for example, Klausenburg in Transylvania, where the problem of two
towns within, namely the Hungarian and the German quarters or, on the
other hand, Esztergom and Agram with the separate ecclesiastical and secular
parts of the settlement, can shed another light onto the issue of town halls. With
respect to Buda and Klausenburg, it is known that the town hall was in the Ger-
man part and the otherwise strong Hungarian community was involved on a
parity-base in the composition of the council.130 In Visegrd, this phenomenon,
namely the geographically separated Hungarian and German quarters can be
documented only until the 1380s, afterwards the parity-based council does not
necessarily mean a two-centred topography. On the basis of its societal makeup
(namely the lack of long-distance merchants and craftsmen in its elite) it may in
any case be grouped among the market or the bishops towns, thus most prob-
ably lacking a separate medieval town hall.131 In Vc, the settlement was com-
pletely divided on a territorial basis, both part having its own judge and council,
consequently both used their own judges house (since there are also no indica-
tions of the existence of a medieval town hall).132

Epilogue
Generally, on the basis of the literature and as was seen so far with a few excep-
tions only the civitas type of free royal towns sooner or later possessed a
separate town hall building during the medieval times. As the latest example
among these types of towns, Sillein seemingly only got its first separate radhauz
in around 1508. During the Hussite wars and after the Sigismundian times, the
formerly flourishing settlement decayed, lost its earlier economic significance,
and after the death of King Matthias it became part of the noble domain of a
nearby castle (Strecno). The conflict between the nobility and the burghers was
concluded around the date of the appearance of the town hall, thus its late foun-
dation might also have been a demonstrative act after the resolution of this con-
flict, and may also have been in connection with the fact that the position of the
judge was heritable or even vendible.133

130 On the government and elite of Buda, e.g. Kubinyi, Zusammensetzung, 103123; R ady, Medieval
Buda. For Clausenburg: Gndisch, Die Fhrungsschicht, 6792; Gndisch, Das Patriziat.
131 Mszros, A ks kzpkori Visegrd, 2839, esp. 30.
132
Kubinyi, Vc, 4976, esp. 6869.
133 The town council in 1460 still met in the judges house; Bada, A zsolnai vrosknyv, 189.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 189


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

By contrast, in the oppidum type of towns (the market towns), this was a rare
phenomenon until the (early) modern times; the appearance of town halls in
greater number was usually a later step in their development.134 Nevertheless, the
border market town Ksmark on the way to Bohemia deviates from this general
trend, most probably due to the enormous economic boom generated by its bor-
der location. There are hints for the existence of the pretorium even before 1433.
During the Hussite invasion in the given year, the original commercial centre
by the castle was burnt down by a massive fire. As a result, the citizens decided
to relocate the city centre (to the other end of the same land route) where a new
town hall was also built; this was finished in 1461 by a certain master Georg of
Georgenberg.135 Despite such unique examples, the secondary literature is of the
opinion that in general, in the market towns the judges house served the coun-
cil for centuries and no separate house was built for it.136 This is certainly true for
all such towns where the urban self-government was extended over independent
jurisdiction but at the same time the financial control by the feudal lord might
have been stronger (and thus hindered such an expensive investment), or where
due to a kind of perpetual judge position it was almost irrelevant whether the
judges house or another house served the council purposes. In Szeged market
town which, however, due to its role in the cattle trade also became a royal
town in 1498 a principalis judex position developed in the inner administration
because of the rather late union of the formerly independent three parts of the
town (similarly to Debrecen). In the 1440s, Mrton Kalmr bore this title, which
in the 1470s borne by Lszl Szilgyi (14711486) already appeared as suppremus
ac perpetuus iudex. King Matthias re-ordered the yearly election in the town,
but in the 1520s a judge, named Istvn Zkny (15241542) again requested King
Ferdinand that he be able to hold the judge office in perpetuum. Moreover, while
nothing is known about a town hall before the post-Ottoman times, the house of
Zkny can be located on the main (small) market square thus, even its central
location fulfilled the role of a town hall.137
In line with these market towns, from the perspective of the judges house
as opposed to the towns house, most of the ecclesiastical centres (the bishops
towns) can apparently be included, with the definite exception of Esztergom,
Szkesfehrvr and Agram. The archbishopric centre has already been discussed,
but a few notes should be added about the two bishoprics. In relation to Szkes-

134 On the problems of the market towns, with the detailed examples of Eger, Vc, Szeged, Gyngys, Nyr-
btor, Miskolc, Rckeve, see Kubinyi, Vrosfejlds. Further analysis of a few market towns, e.g. Pet-
rovics, A kzpkori Temesvr; Valter, Pszt, 271282; Tth, Szond, 589600. For an English lan-
guage summary: Kubinyi, Urbanisation, 103149.
135 Praetorium civitatis Kesmark aedificari inchoatum est anno 1461; Wagner, Analecta Scepusii II, 106.
Mencl, Stredovek mesta, 111115, esp. 112 (for the site of the building after 1461). For its form after the
rebuilding in 15411543, see Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia, 728.
136
Blazovich, Vrosok, 8586.
137 Krist, Szeged, 433438, here 435. For the house: Blazovich, Vrosok az Alfldn, 60, map 3, No. 16.
In the eighteenth century the new building can be found outside the medieval centre, on the outside
(great) market square (map 3, No. 21) north of the castle.

190 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

fehrvr, scholars usually presume that its town hall in the middle of the castrum
on the market opposite the basilica and the chapter functioned at least from the
end-fourteenth century onwards, though no written documentation has sur-
vived, thus only the medieval remnants of the seventeenth-century building
points to this conjecture.138 In case of Agram, the location was similarly in the
castle, on the market place, but this time being in the civic part of the town
opposite the parish church. It is first mentioned in 1439, but parallel to the other
two main ecclesiastical centres its earlier existence can also be supposed.139
As to the relative chronology of the existence (establishment) of separate town
halls in the free royal towns, the references usually point at the earliest to the
late fourteenth century (Buda 1397, Pressburg 1387). The only earlier date to
be found is for the archbishopric centre of Esztergom (1284), and if we accept
the above suppositions about Szkesfehrvr and Agram, then these ecclesias-
tical as well as royal (civic) centres already had a separate town hall in the early
fourteenth century. In case of the other bishopric towns (probably but not cer-
tainly with the exception of Pcs), one might suppose a similar process as in Gyr
in the sixteenth century (or due to the Turks sometimes even later). It certainly
remains questionable whether only the diminished sources lead us to this conclu-
sion. Nevertheless, the social composition of the bishopric towns also points to
more similarities with the market towns,140 thus the longer usage of the judges
house instead of a more symbolic erection of a town hall might still be accepted.
Nonetheless, the boom period in most of the civitas was the early fifteenth
century when the buildings were purchased, and then probably also extended.
One may recall the example of Pressburg, where after the corner tower was
acquired, more and more burghers houses were slowly incorporated (the form
visible today contains four burgages altogether, which were acquired in five
steps), as well as the moving town hall of Sopron or Hermannstadt, motivated
most probably, among other reasons, by thus gaining more space. This timing
in the early and mid-fifteenth century for the free royal towns also drew paral-
lels to some extent with the development and specialisation of urban literacy.
In the beginning, even the urban charters were issued by the available ecclesias-
tical institutions (loca credibilia). Then these towns slowly became independent
in their literacy, first conducting a Stadtbuch of mixed content and later devel-
oping a more specialised and more widespread written administration. In those
towns where this can be ascertained with the help of the extant sources, there is
a certain correlation between the development of the independent urban literacy
(town scribe, keeping continuous accounts, producing different types of town
books) and the establishment of such an urban town hall, in this sense, the town
hall also grew already in medieval times as an office-building besides its multi-

138 Fgedi, Stadtplan, 103135; Kovcs, Megjegyzsek, 261267; for the 1698 property register and the
town hall: Dormuth, Adatok, 19; Siklsi, Huser, 161173.
139
Grothusen, Entstehung, 176.
140
Mlyusz, A mezvrosi, 128192.

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 191


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

functionality and demonstrative role.141 Naturally, this was not the only impetus
behind the appearance of the separate town hall buildings. The markets and
trading must have had a more dominant role, which had to be controlled and
administered as well as causing more urban conflicts which had to be settled.
Therefore, in these cases a private burghers house was not adequate any more. It
should also be noted that the majority (the only provable exception is Esztergom
(1284) and probably Szkesfehrvr) of the medieval town halls in the kingdom
can be traced back to Sigismundian times, thus the general urban policy of King
Sigismund should not be forgotten.142
By that time, besides the practical needs for the separate building and mar-
ket control, demonstration and visibility as well as representation also played a
more significant role and might have influenced certain developments concern-
ing these medieval town halls. On the other hand, their further development in
these urban centres during the second half of the fifteenth (e.g. the last addition
to the Pressburg town hall, or Sopron) and the first decades of the sixteenth cen-
tury (e.g. Bartfeld and others) must also have been in correspondence with the
growing size of the outer council with its increased functions. Thus, the addi-
tional enlargements (new buildings) were necessitated by the changing character
of the political self-government itself. After changing over from the domus iudicii
to the domus consilii, and (in certain cases only gradually) moving closer to the
market square, the erection of a more demonstrative and more representational
public building for the community actually ensued in these royal towns paral-
lel to the enlargements and finishing off of the late Gothic parish churches and
in certain cases it also occurred parallel to a process of taking over several insti-
tutions (e.g. hospitals and public baths, taverns, and so on) that were previously
governed by church institutions or private owners. Moreover, using a private
house (the judges or a councillors house) also reflected a different type of self-
administration and self-definition as well as the composition of the given urban
political elite, while establishing and using a public building meant a shift on
that level, even though the borderline between private and public was not at all
so sharp and was more permeable. To conclude with the words of the fifteenth-
century Italian architect and Renaissance polymath, Leon Battista Alberti, a
town is like a big house, and the house is actually a small town in itself.143 It is
valid manifold for the town halls whose historical development manifests the
quintessence of the general history (political events, conflicts and intentions) and
urban/topographical changes of an urban community.

141 Szende, The Uses, 118120; Goda Majorossy, Stdtische Selbstverwaltung; Majorossy Szende,
Libri civitatum, 319325.
142
Kubinyi, Der ungarische Knig, 193220.
143
Alberti, De re aedificatoria, Liber I. 9.

192 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
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Table No. 1. Dating the town halls144

Town First Date for the Town Hall Notes


Buda before 1397 point of reference (already in use)
Pest no medieval date available most probably 15th century
Sopron 1422 further moves: 1459, 1497
Pressburg (1370) 1387 new burgages: 1421, cca.1434, 1440s
Tyrnau 1413 rebuilt: 1544
Kaschau supposedly end-14th century first date available: 1461, fire: 1556
Bartfeld (1419) 1428 rebuilt: 15051511
Eperies (1424) 1429
Esztergom 1284
Fehrvr (?) 14th century
Leutschau 15th century (1418?) first date available: 1516, fire: 1550
Zeben no data was found probably 15th century
Skalitz 15th century tavern right in town hall: 15th cen-
tury, fire: 1631
Szeged probably not built before the Turks
Neustadt-Frauenbach no medieval date found
Kremnitz 1380? new location: 1560
Neusohl supposedly 15th century
Schemnitz supposedly 15th century judges house in use: 1403; its chapel:
1488
Knigsberg supposedly 15th century
Pukantz no medieval date found supposed 15th century
Libethen no medieval date found
Dllen no medieval date found
Kronstadt 1420 enlargement: 1503
Hermannstadt (1413) before 1457 new location: 14971545; 1545
(Altemberg house)
Bistritz before 1457 (1487)
Mediasch supposedly 16th century judges house in use: 1470, date on
the hall: 1583
Schssburg 14th century?-tower, 1495 new location: 1575
Klausenburg 1438 enlargement: 1578
Veszprm (?)
Gyr (1550) Grundbuch: 1564

144
The table was basically prepared using the available secondary literature (with some additions from the
sources found). It is a rough (and far from complete) summary; further extensive research is required to
make it more precise. The dates in bold refer to documents which clearly date the appearance of the town
halls. The other dates indicate only the first date when the town halls were mentioned in the sources (the
dates in italics are uncertain).

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 193


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

Town First Date for the Town Hall Notes


Karlsburg/ no medieval date found
Weissenburg
Tschanad no medieval date found
Pcs (?) property registration: 1695
Eger no medieval date found the town itself burnt down: 1514
Grosswardein no medieval date found
Vc no medieval date found property register: 1718
Neutra no medieval date found
Kalocsa no medieval date found
Agram (Zagreb) before 1439, 14th century additional plots added: 1614
Debrecen 1531 full right to the plot: 1580
Kszeg 1570
Temeswar probably not built before the Turks
Ksmark before 1433 move: 1461, fire: 1541
Sillein 1508
Trentschin probably not before 1669 (property
aquisition)
Altsohl 1467
Visegrd no medieval date available
Karpfen 1470? first date: 1590
Wallendorf its chapel: 15th century
Srospatak the building used by the council was
built: 1531

194 RATHUSER ALS MULTIFUNKTIONALE RUME DER REPRSENTATION, DER PARTEIUNGEN UND DES GEHEIMNISSES
f+b55 From the Judges House to the Towns House

Zusammenfassung
Dieser Beitrag unternimmt den Versuch darzustellen, was ber die Rathuser im
Knigreich Ungarn fr den Zeitraum zwischen dem vierzehnten und der Mitte
des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts herausgefunden werden kann. Verschiedene Bei-
spiele bestimmter Rathuser werden diskutiert, allerdings nicht mit der Absicht,
sie als Fallstudien zu prsentieren oder einen allumfassenden berblick zu geben.
Ziel ist es vielmehr, die Beispiele im Rahmen einer leichten Struktur hinsichtlich
verfgbarer Quellen, in denen sie fassbar werden, zu diskutieren sowie auch auf
jene Art von Informationen einzugehen, die vermittelt durch diese Dokumente
zur Verfgung stehen, um Arten von Stadt in Bezug auf die allgemeine Quelle-
produktion und noch mehr in Bezug auf Rathuser zu prsentieren, weiters um
eine Chronologie des Prozesses von Rathausbauten soweit das berhaupt mg-
lich ist sowie auch eine bestimmte/relative Typologie der Rathuser und deren
Standorten bereit zu stellen, und schlielich die wenigen Beispiele, an denen
etwas ber die Dekoration dieser ffentlichen Gebude bekannt ist, fr das Mit-
telalter zu skizzieren.
Es wurde gezeigt, dass mit wenigen Ausnahmen im Knigreich der civi-
tas-Typ der freien kniglichen Stdte im Mittealter frher oder spter ein eige-
nes Rathaus besa. Im Gegensatz dazu war dies in den oppidum-(Markt-)Std-
ten ein seltenes Phnomen; das Auftreten der Rathuser in grerer Zahl war in
der Regel ein spterer Schritt in ihrer Entwicklung. Trotz vereinzelter Ausnah-
men diente in diesen Stdten seit Jahrhunderten das Haus des Richters dem Rat.
Es wurde kein separates Haus fr diesen gebaut. Die meisten kirchlichen Zen-
tren, insbesondere Bischofsstdte kann man im Hinblick auf das Problem des
Richterhauses contra eigenem Rathaus der Situation der Marktflecken hinzuf-
gen, allerdings mit den Ausnahmen von Esztergom, Szkesfehrvr, und Agram.
In Bezug auf die relative Chronologie der Existenz (Errichtung) separa-
ter Rathuser freier kniglicher Stdte, knnen erste Nennungen fr gewhn-
lich im spten vierzehnten Jahrhundert ausgemacht werden. Die einzige frhere
Datierung kann fr das erzbischfliche Zentrum von Esztergom (1284) gefun-
den werden. Akzeptiert man die oben geuerten Vermutungen ber Szkes-
fehrvr und Agram, so hatten diese kirchlichen wie auch die kniglichen Stdte
bereits im frhen vierzehnten Jahrhundert ein separates Rathaus. Dennoch ist
die Boom-Zeit in den meisten civitates Anfang des fnfzehnten Jahrhunderts, als
die Gebude gekauft, und dann wohl auch ausgebaut wurden. Das Auftauchen
der Rathuser in der ersten Hlfte und um die Mitte des fnfzehnten Jahrhun-
derts luft in gewissem Mae parallel mit der Entwicklung und Spezialisierung
im Bereich der stdtischen Alphabetisierung. Dies war allerdings nicht die ein-
zige treibende Kraft hinter dem Auftreten der eigenen Rathausbauten. Mrkte
und Handel mssen eine dominierende Rolle eingenommen haben. Sie mussten
kontrolliert und verwaltet werden. Sie riefen auch stdtische Konflikte hervor,
die gelst werden mussten. In diesen Fllen war ein privates Brgerhaus nicht

II. Die Rathuser in Mittelalter und Neuzeit in regionalgeschichtlichen Querschnitten 195


Judit Majorossy (Budapest) f+b55

mehr angemessen. Es sollte auch angemerkt werden, dass die Mehrheit der mit-
telalterlichen Rathuser im Knigreich in die Zeit Sigismunds zurckverfolgt
werden kann, weshalb die allgemeine stdtische Politik von Knig Sigismund in
diesem Zusammenhang auch nicht unbeachtet bleiben sollte.
Zu diesem Zeitpunkt spielten neben den praktischen Bedrfnissen fr ein
eigenes Gebude sowie der Kontrolle des Markts auch die Demonstration, die
Sichtbarkeit sowie die Reprsentation eine wichtigere Rolle und beeinflussten
mglicherweise gewisse Fortschritte in Bezug auf mittelalterliche Rathuser. Auf
der anderen Seite muss ihre weitere Entwicklung in den stdtischen Zentren in
der zweiten Hlfte des fnfzehnten und den ersten Jahrzehnten des sechzehnten
Jahrhunderts auch in Zusammenhang mit der wachsenden Gre des ueren
Rat, mit mehr Funktionen und zustzlichen Erweiterungen (um neue Gebude)
gesehen werden. Das alles wurde aufgrund des sich verndernden Charakters
der politischen Selbstverwaltung notwendig. Nach dem bergang vom domus
iudicii zum domus consilii, und (in bestimmten Fllen erst allmhlicher) rumli-
cher Annherung an den Marktplatz, fand die Errichtung eines demonstrativen
und reprsentativen ffentlichen Gebudes fr die Gemeinde in der Tat paral-
lel zu den Vergrerungen und Fertigstellungen der sptgotischen Stadtpfarr-
kirchen statt. In bestimmten Fllen ging es auch parallel zu einem Prozess der
bernahme von bestimmten Institutionen, z. B. Krankenhusern und ffent-
lichen Bdern, Tavernen etc., die zuvor von kirchlichen Institutionen oder Pri-
vatpersonen geleitet wurden. Darber hinaus drckte die Verwendung eines
privaten Hauses, also des Richters oder eines Stadtrats, eine andere Art von
Selbstverwaltung und Selbstdefinition wie auch Zusammensetzung der jeweili-
gen stdtischen politischen Elite aus, whrend die Einrichtung und Verwendung
einer ffentlichen Gebudes auch eine Verschiebung auf diesem Niveau bedeu-
tete, wenngleich die Grenze zwischen privatem und ffentlichem generell nicht
so scharf und mehr durchlssig war.

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