Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hungarians of the 13th Century

A few months back, I decided to have another go at finding some of the heraldry for the Kingdom of Hungary in the 13th century. My lack of any knowledge of Hungarian was a bit of a problem and it seemed that there was precious little available online in English although I did find a few coats in wikipedia.

In Pal Engel's book there were a few references to heraldry which made it clear that it had begun to emerge in the kingdom soon after it appeared in Western Europe. Armed with a few names, I eventually found some information. It turns out that the Hungarian for coat of arms is cimer from the French cimier  meaning crest. The arms belonged to a number of gens (clans - nemzetseg) and I think that various members of the clans would bear the same arms or close variations. Here is a potted history of some of the clans. One reason for this different approach is that society developed very differently in Hungary compared to Western Europe although some aspects of feudalism did appear especially under the Angevins in the 14th century.

The most useful site I found was here. I concentrated on those labelled nemzetseg  as most of the entries are civic. Even without any knowledge of the language it was possible to use dates to narrow down the arms I wanted to use. There was quite a change in the style of arms into the 14th and 15th century, so I tried to make sure I used the arms from this earlier period. I saved these as a word document so that I could refer to it during painting. Even with this site, I have likely made some errors.
Support for some of the arms comes from the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum of the late 13th century. The author included a discussion of where some of the non-Hungarian familes had originated, many of which were German. In many cases the arms are described.

By the 13th century, there were increasing numbers of people who held land within Croatia and Hungary proper so I have included a few Croatian arms. I did intend to keep them on the same base but messed up! Here is a site with some background to Croat heraldry.

The King. I don't think I found a specific example of both sets of arms being used together, so a bit of poetic licence.
(EDIT - I rememeber now - the Chronica Pictum does show this combination though it may well be anachronistic. See here

Centre figure is OG15s flanked by two Mirliton figures.

Keglevic (Croat), Hermann ('Saxon'), Kaplony 
Hont-Pazman, Buzad-Hahot, Jak

Ratold, Gutkeled (both probably 'Saxon')

Gundulic (Croat), Doroszma, Subic (Croat)

Kacsics, Vaja, Boksa

There are a few alterations to some of the figures. The Vaja figure is a OG15s. It comes with quite a tall helmet which I didn't much like, so this was cut down and changed to form an early form of face mask helm. The same figure was used for Doroszma but this time the entire head was removed and replaced with a Minifigs helmet. The rest of the Minifigs figure was a bit small to fit the style of the otehr figures but this magnificent crest needed to be put to use. I have a couple of others which are likely to end up being used elsewhere, probably as Poles or the King of Bohemia. The Hermann figure has also had a Minifigs head grafted onto an OG15s body. The shape of the helms makes them ideal candidates for transplants, with enough room to drill a hole and insert a small piece of brass rod to keep the head secure. 
For some background reading, there is a list of sources here . This mainly focuses on the 15th centry, so I would add the chronicle I mentioned earlier and also Hungary in the Thirteenth Century . I managed to look at both of these at my local University library. The latter book has a reasonable amount of military detail including some about the first Mongol invasion.


Doug said...

Those are fantastic. A real inspiration.

Engel said...

Nice work.
Its allays nice to visist your blog, you know its going to be good.

Phil said...

That's a great period, and your work is up to the situation...a great work!

El Senyor Verd said...

Great stuff!
And thanks for that useful links.

Robert Hingley said...

Great work on the shields. You have completed a first rate job with the figures.

Robert Hingley said...

Great work on the shields. You have completed a first rate job with the figures.

Ric said...

these are very good, fantastic amount of detail!

Anonymous said...

Very good work, bu Gundulic or Gondola were only Ragusan, from the Republic of Ragusa.

Swampster said...

Thanks. I'll have to assume he is in search of foreign adventure.