The Formation of the Nobility in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary

Vznik šľachty v stredovekom Uhorskom kráľovstve

The paper analyzes formation of nobility as an independent social group in the early Hungarian kingdom. The first mention of the term "noble" (nobilis) appears in the sources of Hungarian origin in the Law 3 of the king Ladislas I. Persons designated in the contemporary society as nobles were people born into upper class and wealthy families, forming a group which would be nowadays termed "aristocracy". The appearance of the term "noble" is connected with social changes in the 70´s of the 11th century, when a group of extra privileged was extolled from previously compact group of freemen. It was also the content of the term liberty that changed in the last third of the 11th century.
As a result of social changes of the 13th century a group of lowborn (ignobiles) started to decidedly assert themselves as impecunious, but free peasants who tilled the land for others. The term royal servant (serviens regis alebo regalis) designated a man who had served the king and whom the king liberated from his service – usually for his military achievements – and granted him estates.
The Golden Bull of 1222 confirmed the liberties of royal servants, granting them wide privilege rights. Terminologically, freemen who owned some land and at the same time provided military services, merged in the first half of the 13th century with "nobility," even though their standard of living lacked markedly behind that of traditional nobles.
The author provides a detailed analysis of the terms that appears in the written sources of the period, such as veri nobiles, populi castrenses iobagio castri and examines changes that took places by the end of the 13th century in three stages.
Since 1267 the public law recognized concept of "the one and the same liberty" for nobility. The milestone in the history of nobility took place as late as the end of the 15th century, when nobles with distinctive titles were elevated to specially privileged aristocracy