Transylvanian Identities in the Middle Ages
IDENTITATS, Flocel Sabaté, ed., Reunió Cientifica XIV Curs d’Estiu Comtat d’Urgell Celebrat a Balaguerels Dies 1,2 i 3 de Juliol de (2009)
This international conference approaches the complex topic of identities in the Middle Ages and as the participants could notice from the papers presented yesterday, various patterns of identity formation have developed in parts of western Europe. In my paper I am going to concentrate on the specific example of identity forma- tion during the Middle Ages in a multiethnic and multilingual region from East-Central Europe, that is in Transylvania. A multiethnic and multilingual region is a place where the experience of identity is expected to be stronger and the dynamic of the processes of identification, self-identification and building of otherness is more easily discernible.
As a result of the consolidation of the Christian monarchy in Hungary, its easternmost region, conquered in the eleventh century by the Arpadian kings, suffered a continuous flow of various ethnic groups, thus becoming a place of meeting and cohabitation for Romanians, Slavs, Hungarians, Szeklers, Pechenegues, Germans, Valloons, Flemings, Italians, etc.. This ethnic diversity was achieved during the organization of Transylvania by the Hungarian kings through colonization, a process extended until the end of the thirteenth century. Such an ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity has necessarily triggered processes of consolidation of group identity as well as assimilation or the adoption by groups or individuals of another group’s identity.