Principality of Nitra: Wikis


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The Principality of Nitra or Nitrian Principality (Slovak: Nitrianske kniežatstvo, Nitriansko, Nitrava)[1] is the name for a Slavic polity, centered around Nitra.[1] It may have been a separate principality in the 8-12th centuries that existed as an independent state and became an autonomous territory within Great Moravia, Poland and the Kingdom of Hungary[2][3]; or it may have been a nascent state that merged into Great Moravia in the 830s and lost its separate existence around 900.[4]


Independent polity


We do not have much information based on documents (only two entries in a Western written primary source) on the polity referred as the "Principality of Nitra" by later historians.[4] The primary source (The Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians) refers to Pribina's expulsion by Mojmír I, Duke of the Moravians and its interpolation mentions him in connection with Nitra:[5]

... a certain Priwina , who had been expelled by Moimar, Duke of the Moravians living over the Danube, came to Ratbod[6]

Archbishop Adalram consecrated a church for him over the Danube on his possession called Nitrava.[7]

The Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians[5]

Nevertheless, during the first decades of the 9th century, the Slavic people living in the north-western parts of the Carpathian Basin were under the rule of a tribal leader (styled prince by later historians) whose seat was in Nitra. In the 9th century, an extensive network of settlements developed around the town.[8] [9 ] Around that time, the Avars' power collapsed in the Carpathian Basin following the military campaigns of Charlemagne and Krum of Bulgaria.[9 ]

The "Principality of Nitra" emerged in the 8th century and developed into an independent Slavic state; although the polity may have lost its independence when it was still at the stage of development.[4][10][11] In the early 9th century, the polity was situated on the north-western territories of present-day Slovakia.[8]

Around 828, Archbishop Adalram of Salzburg consecrated a church for Prince Pribina in Nitrava (identified with Nitra).[12]

Part of Great Moravia

In 833 Mojmír I, Duke of the Moravians, expelled Pribina. Following his expulsion, Pribina went to count Ratbod who administered the Eastern March of the Carolingian Empire.[9 ] In the early 840s, Louis the German, King of East Francia granted Pribina parts of Pannonia around the Zala River (referred to as the "Balaton Principality").[9 ] [13] Afterwards, Pribina supported East Francia in its struggle against Great Moravia and died in a battle against Rastislav, Prince of Great Moravia in 861.[9 ] He was succeeded by his son Koceľ in his county in Pannonia.[9 ]

What modern historians designate as Great Moravia, arose around 830, when Moimír I unified the Slavic tribes settled north of the Danube and extended the Moravian supremacy over them.[4] The "Principality of Nitra" was governed by the future King Svätopluk I from about 860 during the reign of Prince Rastislav[9 ].

Upon Prince Rastislav's request, two brothers, Byzantine officials and missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius came in 863. Cyril developed the first Slavic alphabet and translated the Gospel into the Old Church Slavonic language. Texts translated or written by Cyril and Methodius are considered to be the oldest literature in the Slavic languages.

Castles in Great Moravia mentioned by name in contemporary written sources were located in the "Principality of Nitra", although the identification of some of them is still under debate. Nitrawa, mentioned in the The Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians and other documents, is identified with Nitra.[14] [9 ] Dowina, referred in the Annals of Fulda at the year 864, is sometimes identified with Devín Castle, but the period of its building is also dated to the 13th century.[15][9 ] Brezalauspurc is usually identified with Bratislava Castle, but its denomination suggest that the fortress was built for Braslav, a count in East Francia; therefore its identification as a castle in Great Moravia is under debate.[16] [9 ].

Great Moravia reached its maximum territorial extent during the reign of Svätopluk I (870-894), who had governed the "Principality of Nitra" before ascending the throne.[4] Following his death, his sons, Mojmír II and Svätopluk II got involved in wars with the neighbouring countries and a civil war also broke out between the brothers.[4]

The see of one of the dioceses in Great Moravia was established in Nitra; its first bishop, Wiching was consecrated in 880.[9 ]

Around 896 the nomadic Magyar tribes, who had occasionally intervened into the struggles of the powers dominating the Carpathian Basin already from 861, suffered a catastrophic defeat from the Pechenegs; they left their territories east of the Carpathian Mountains, invaded the Carpathian Basin and started to occupy the territory gradually.[17 ] [18] The Magyars invaded the territories of Great Moravia around the Morava River in 902 and they destroyed the state.[19] In three battles (July 4-5 and August 9, 907) near Bratislava, the Magyars routed Bavarian armies. Historians traditionally put this year as the date of the breakup of the Great Moravian Empire.

Some contemporary sources mention that Great Moravia disappeared without trace following the Magyars' victories, but archaeological researches and toponyms suggest the continuity of Slavic population in the valleys of the rivers of the Inner Western Carpathians.[19] [20]

Great Moravia left behind a lasting legacy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Glagolitic script and its successor Cyrillic were disseminated to other Slavic countries, charting a new path in their cultural development.

Under the rule of Hungarian chieftains

The Magyar tribes took possession of the Carpathian Basin around 900 and their tribes got established on the territory.[18] Archaeological researches do not prove the total destruction of the regions around the Morava River but the Magyar armies regularly passed through the territories when they marched to pillage the territories of East Francia.[19] Toponyms may prove that the nomadic Magyars occupied the Western Pannonian Plain in present-day Slovakia, while the hills were inhabited by a mixed (Slav and Hungarian) population and people living in the valleys of the mountains spoke Slavic language.[20]

The Gesta Hungarorum ("Deeds of the Hungarians") mentions that Huba, head of one of the seven Magyar tribes, received possessions around Nitra and the Žitava River; while according to the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum ("Deeds of the Huns and Hungarians") another tribal leader, Lél settled down around Hlohovec and following the Magyars' victory over the Moravians', he usually stayed around Nitra.[9 ] Modern authors claim that one of the Magyar tribes occupied the north-western parts of the Carpathian Basin.[9 ] On the other hand, the remaining territories belonging to the "Principality of Nitra" were under the rule of local Slavic.[10][11]

From 917 the Magyars made raids to several territories at the same time which may prove the decay of the uniform direction within their tribal federation.[21] The sources prove the existence of at least three and maximum five groups of tribes within the federation, and only one of them was lead directly by the Árpáds (the dynasty of the future kings of Hungary) who ruled over the western parts of the Carpathian Basin.[21]

The development of the future Kingdom of Hungary started during the reign of Grand Prince Géza (before 972-997) who expanded his rule over the territories west of the River Hron.[22] Some authors claim that Géza's son, the future King Stephen received the "Duchy of Nitra" in appanage from his father following his marriage with Giselle of Bavaria.[23 ] When Géza died, a member of the Árpád dynasty, the pagan Koppány claimed the succession, but Stephen defeated him with the assistance of his wife's German retinue.[22]

Around 1015 Duke Boleslaw I of Poland occupied some territories of present-day Slovakia east of the River Morava, but King Stephen recovered these territories already in 1018.[24]

Part of the Kingdom of Hungary

King Stephen established several counties on the territories, e.g. Bars, Esztergom, Hont, Komárom and Nyitra counties were probably founded by him.[21] The scarcely habitated parts of the kingdom (e.g., the northern and north-eastern territories of present-day Slovakia) were originally the kings' private forests, then they were organized into "forest counties" (12-13th centuries).[21]

Following King Stephen's death (1038), the kingdom got involved into civil wars and pagan revolts which lead to the intervention of the Holy Roman Empire.[24] Stephen's successor, King Peter was dethroned in 1041 and he fled to the court of Emperor Henry III who lead his armies against Peter's opponent, King Samuel Aba in the following year.[24] The emperor occupied the western territories of present-day Slovakia till the Hron River, and he granted the occupied territories to a member of the Árpád dynasty, Béla instead of King Peter because the Hungarians opposed the latter's rule.[24] However, King Samuel Aba could reoccupy the territory after the withdrawal of the Emperor's troops.

In 1046 King Andrew I ascended the throne who conceded one-third of the counties of the kingdom ("Tercia pars regni") to his brother, Duke Béla who had possibly governed parts of the territory already in 1042.[17 ] The counties entrusted to Duke Bela did not form a separate province within the kingdom, but they were organized around two or three centers: the eastern block of the counties were located around Bihar (Romanian: Biharea), while their north-western block was centered around Nitra; the third (possible) center of the territories was Krassó (near to the present-day Dupljaja in Serbia).[9 ]

The Tercia pars regni were governed regularly by members of the Árpád dynasty (the Dukes Géza, Ladislaus, Lampert, Álmos till 1163, when the last duke of the territory, Stephen ascended the throne.[9 ] The dukes accepted the supremacy of the kings of Hungary, but some of them (Béla, Géza and Álmos) rebelled against the king in order to acquire the crown and allied themselves with the rulers of the neighboring countries (e.g., the Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia).[17 ]

See also


  1. ^ a b [|Kirschbaum, Stanislav J.] (March 1995). A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; St. Martin's Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-312-10403-0.  
  2. ^ Benton, William; Encyclopaedia Britannica Staff (1974). The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago; London: Encyclopaedia Britannica. p. 1185. ISBN 0852292902.  
  3. ^ "Brief History of Slovakia - Slovakia as a part of the Hungarian Kingdom". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovakia at no date. Retrieved April 26 2008.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f Angi, János; Bárány, Attila; Orosz, István; Papp, Imre; Pósán, László (1997). Európa a korai középkorban (3-11. század) (Europe in the Early Middle Ages - 3-11th centuries). Debrecen: dup, Multiplex Media - Debrecen U. P.. p. 360. ISBN 963 04 9196 6.  
  5. ^ a b Nótári, Tamás (2005). Források Salzburg kora középkori történetéből (Sources of the History of Salzburg in the Early Middle Ages). Lectum Kiadó. p. 184. ISBN 963 86649 6 7.  
  6. ^ ...quidam Priwina exulatus a Moimaro duce Maravorum supra Danubium venit ad Ratbodum (
  7. ^ Adalramus archepiscopus ultra Danubium in sua proprietate loco vocato Nitrava consecravit ecclesiam. (
  8. ^ a b Kristó, Gyula (1993). A Kárpát-medence és a magyarság régmultja (1301-ig) (The ancient history of the Carpathian Basin and the Hungarians - till 1301). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. p. 37. ISBN 963 04 2914 4.  : "A Kárpát-medence északnyugati részén szláv népesség élén nyitrai székhelyű törzsfő állott a 9. század első évtizedeiben." ("On the north-western parts of the Carpathian Basin, a tribal leader, seated in Nitra, headed Slavic population in the first decades of the 9th century.")
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Kristó, Gyula (editor) (1994). Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9-14. század) (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History - 9-14th centuries). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 498. ISBN 963 05 6722 9.  
  10. ^ a b "Nitra: from fields to factories". The Slovak Spectator. 2004-07-12. Retrieved 2008-04-22.  
  11. ^ a b Poulik, Josef (1978). "The Origins of Christianity in Slavonic Countries North of the Middle Danube Basin". Taylor&Francis Ltd.. Retrieved 2008-04-22.  
  12. ^ [|Kirschbaum, Stanislav J.] (March 1995). A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; St. Martin's Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-312-10403-0.  
  13. ^ Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum: "Aliqua vero interim occasione percepta, rogantibus prædicti regis fidelibus præstavit rex Priwinæ aliquam inferioris Pannoniæ in beneficium partem circa fluvium qui dicitur Sala" ("In the meantime, when an opportunity offered, the king, on the request of his above-mentioned faithful men, granted the parts of Lower Pannonia around the river called Zala to Pribina as a benefice").
  14. ^ Bartoňková Dagmar, et al., ed (1969). "Libellus de conversione Bagoariorum et Carantanorum (i.e. Conversio)". Magnae Moraviae fontes historici III. Praha: Statni pedagogicke nakl..  
  15. ^ Annales Fuldenses, sive, Annales regni Francorum orientalis ab Einhardo, Ruodolfo, Meginhardo Fuldensibus, Seligenstadi, Fuldae, Mogontiaci conscripti cum continuationibus Ratisbonensi et Altahensibus / post editionem G.H. Pertzii recognovit Friderious Kurze ; Accedunt Annales Fuldenses antiquissimi. Hannover: Hahn. 1978.  
  16. ^ Špiesz, Anton (2001). Bratislava v stredoveku. Bratislava: Perfekt.  
  17. ^ a b c Benda, Kálmán (editor) (1981). Magyarország történeti kronológiája ("The Historical Chronology of Hungary"). Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 50–52. ISBN 963 05 2661 1.  
  18. ^ a b Tóth, Sándor László (1998). Levediától a Kárpát-medencéig ("From Levedia to the Carpathian Basin"). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. pp. 189–211. ISBN 963 482 175 8.  
  19. ^ a b c Kristó, Gyula (1996). Magyar honfoglalás - honfoglaló magyarok. Kossuth Könyvkiadó. pp. 131–132, 141. ISBN 963 09 3836 7.  
  20. ^ a b Kniezsa, István (2000). Magyarország népei a XI. században. Lucidus Kiadó. p. 26. ISBN 963 85954 3 4.  
  21. ^ a b c d Kristó, Gyula (1995). A magyar állam megszületése ("The oriing of the Hungarian state"). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. p. 304. ISBN 963 482 09880.  
  22. ^ a b Kristó, Gyula; Makk, Ferenc (1996). Az Árpád-ház uralkodói The rulers of the Árpád dynasty. I.P.C Könyvek Kft.. p. 30. ISBN 963 7930 973.  
  23. ^ Győrffy, György (1998). Az Árpád-kori Magyarország történeti földrajza The Historical Geography of Hungary in the age of the Árpáds. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 332. ISBN 963 05 7504 3.  
  24. ^ a b c d Makk, Ferenc (1993). Magyar külpolitika (896-1196) ("The Hungarian External Politics (896-1196)"). Szeged: Szegedi Középkorász Műhely. pp. 48–49. ISBN 963 04 2913 6.  

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