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2004 | 46 | 1/2 | 1-30
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Network of towns in the Carpathian Basin in the late Middle Ages

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The definition of the medieval town is a difficult task and we find several opinions about it among historians. Probably the definition of the functions of town provides the best solution, several criteria should be considered simultaneously. In earlier Hungarian historiography the juridical situation of the towns was considered as most important, only free royal towns, the civitates were considered as towns, all in all thirty of them, thus whole regions should have been with no towns at all. The towns with walls, but owned by landlords and the market towns without walls were not considered as towns. Slovak historiography considers these towns with walls, but owned by landlords and the market towns without walls as towns too, and calls them 'mestecko', or small towns. Nevertheless, we can not consider all market towns as towns even if they had some functions of towns. Ten criteria of centrality were elaborated by the author, with points from 1 to 6. I. Centre of a domain, residence of king or lord. II. Juridical centre, loca credibilia. III. Financial centre. IV. Church administration. V. Church institutions, especially mendicant orders' monasteries and hospices. VI. University students from this town. VII. Number of guilds. VIII. Crossroad. IX. Markets and fairs. X. Legal situation of the town. Thus we can conclude: 1. First rank centres above 41 points. 2. Second rank centres 31-40 points. 3. Smaller towns, important market-towns 21-30 points. 4. Middle rank market towns 21-30 points. 5. Less important market towns with some functions of towns 11-15 points. 6. Average market towns and bigger villages 6-10 points. 7. Market towns without importance and bigger villages 1-5 points. Settlements with at least 16 points are members of the towns' network. Until now, for two thirds of Hungary's territory, we could define these points with 94 towns, among them 9 of the first, 7 of the second and 26 of the third, 52 of the fourth category. In this territory there were only 13 free royal towns.
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  • A. Kubinyi, no address given, contact the journal editor
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