The ruins of a 10th-century Byzantine-style church have been discovered following the archaeological research of 2011, about 24 meters west from the actual Romano-Catholic Cathedral in Alba Iulia. The edification of the church under a Byzantine-style plan may be justified in the context of the Christianization of a Hungarian leader of the southern Transylvanian population. The plan of the ruins, marked by four pillars, leads to the idea of a cross-in-square church, even if the proportions between the structural parts are not respected. Due to some church reconstruction of the early Arpadian period, we argue that according to the information recorded only by the plan, the results could be inaccurate. Therefore, all the presented reconstructions cannot be conclusive because of the reduced amount of information, but can be regarded as a starting point for further researches.
Much has been written on the territory to which the prisoners of war taken from Adrianople in 813 were transferred at the order of Krum, a territory that Scriptor incertus calls “Bulgaria beyond the Danube.” Romanian archaeologists have largely followed the suggestion of Maria Comșa, according to whom, much like the stronghold that she had excavated in Slon, finds of water pipe segments on various sites in Wallachia must be associated with “Bulgaria beyond the Danube,”. Curiously, none of the cemeteries excavated in southern Romania has so far been associated with that territory, but there are clear similarities between them and several cemeteries in southern Transylvania. The number of water pipe segments has meanwhile increased and there is clear indication of a 10th-, not 9th-century, as well as of local production (kilns). No evidence exists, however, of any urban or urban-like site in the lands north of the river Danube, where such water pipe segments may have been needed. The closest sites with extensive water supply systems are Pliska and Preslav. Local communities in Wallachia must have produced water pipe segments to meet the demand in the capital(s) of Bulgaria. Communities in southern Transylvania were linked by different ties to Preslav, as indicated by the large number of weapons deposited in 10th-century graves and especially by the church built within that century at Alba Iulia.
Archaeological excavations or fortuitous discoveries on Romania’s territory have revealed several types of reliquary crosses, few in fact, which carry no ornament. The latter could in fact constitute a third group of Byzantine-type enkolpion crosses.
The repertory of reliquary crosses with embossed figures found in Romania, gather by the author without claiming to be exhaustive, amounts to 53 enkolpia. The cataloguing of the pieces and the two-component analyses of the representations on the crosses permits a finer typology of these artifacts. The typology starts from the manner of representation of the details of the effigies or other decorative elements, as well as the existence or their absence on the respective pieces. The creation of the typology is based on the description of the pieces, as presented in the academic papers in which they were published. When the opportunities allowed, graphic representations accompany the description of the pieces. This brings roughly to the same graphic scale some better-preserved examples, making use of the drawings provided by the authors of the discoveries.
Byzantine monasteries in medieval Hungary have attracted the attention of many scholars for more than a century now. They undoubtedly represent one of the most vivid representations of the influence of Eastern Roman Empire on medieval Hungarian state, especially in the period up to the Tartar invasion of Hungary in 1241–1242. Still, there are some questions that need to be examined. The aim of this paper is to attempt to provide a list of all possible Byzantine monasteries in medieval Hungary, with some of them that are sometimes omitted in the historiography, like for instance that in Sremska Mitrovica (ancient Sirmium, medieval Szávaszentdemeter) or Dombó. On the other hand, this paper tries to arise and discuss questions whether have some of the earlier historiographic conclusions on monasteries such as Dunapentele or the caves of Tihany have confirmation in the written source material of the time.
The restoration of the Byzantine administration in the Danubian region at the beginning of the 11th century determined the inclusion of the territory of the former Bulgarian state in a new structure of Church organization, the archbishopric of Ohrid, inheritor of the Bulgarian Patriarchy as it was during the reign of Samuel. The duchy of Ahtum, the ally of this tsar, belonged to the Bulgarian bishopric of Vidin, but the new Byzantine archbishopric was established inside the boundaries of the former state of Samuel and only there (the duchy was already conquered by Stephen I). The archbishopric of Ohrid was not extended in the regions where, at the middle of the 10th century, the missionary action of Hierotheos led to the establishment of the bishopric of Tourkia (later on, a metropolitanate). The metropolitanate of Tourkia, subordinated to the Constantinopolitan Church, was responsible for the entire area of the Hungarian Kingdom, including the recent conquests made in the lands of Ahtum and Geula (the duke of Bălgrad – Alba). The same kingdom was thus covered by two different church organizations, the Latin one (introduced by Stephen I) and the Greek one.
The paper aims to reconstruct the general historical context in which the mission of Bishop Hierotheos took place in the middle of the 10th century. Despite the difficulties caused by the scarcity of documentary information, historians have managed to outline a model of evolution of the incipient Transylvanian statehood, which registers in this century two major stages of development. The first was the consolidation of Terra Ultrasilvana, a small territorial structure in the northwest of the province that was conquered, around 900, by a Hungarian group. The second stage meant the extension of this dominion over the central Transylvania, controlled until then by the Bulgarians. The founding of the first diocese of Transylvania, supported by the archaeological research in Alba Iulia in 2011, may be related to this context, but further efforts are needed to decipher the evolution of this institution in the unclear historical context of the late 10th century.
This paper introduces the site of Alba Iulia (older Romanian name Bălgrad, Hungarian name Gyulafehérvár), as ones of the most important key-center within the Carpathian Basin around the year 1000, powered probably by the Bulgarian Empire before the Hungarian conquest in early 11th century. While the written sources are scarce, the archaeological evidence has brought to light a significant number of dwelling facilities, cemeteries and, most importantly, three churches operating there at the turn of the millennium. Starting in the mid-10th century, two churches were successively built on the same spot: a Byzantine-style church, and later on, in front of it, a Romanesque basilica, the latter being the first cathedral of the Latin Bishopric of Transylvania, in operation at the end of the 11th century, for about a century. This paper aims to analyze these churches in their particular context and to look up for their historical significance in the process of shaping medieval Transylvania, between Eastern Christianity and Latin Europe.
The first Hungarian baptisms, which sources are about, are attached to Byzantium. This early period is presented the study: starting with the baptisms of Bulcsú, Termacsu and Gyula, through the action of the Bishop Hierotheos and his successors and its problematic points, until the end of the presence of Eastern Christianity.
The canonization of the missionary bishop Hierotheos, the beginner of the Byzantine mission in Hungary (10th century), drew attention after the jubilee year 2000 to how this mission left its mark on historiography and archeology. Starting from the hagiographic file Hierotheos, the research tries to reconstruct the manner in which the historical image of this Byzantine bishop’s presence in Hungary and Transylvania was formed, discovering that the central element is the work of the pre-Enlightenment historian Gottfried Schwarz (1707–1788), Initia religionis christianae inter Hungaros ecclesiae orientalis adserta, a historical-critical dissertation published in Halle, in 1740, and later taken over in the Romanian historiography of the Transylvanian School (Gheorghe Șincai, Samuil Micu and Petru Maior) and in the Hungarian Protestant one (Péter Bod, Richard Huss), being further taken over and conjuncturally developed up until contemporary historiography, now revisited and re-evaluated in the context of recent archaeological discoveries in Alba Iulia (10th century Byzantine church, cemetery in Izvorul Împăratului with reliquary crosses).