Adinel C. Dincă
Hungarian Mercenaries Serving the Pontifical State
A Vatican Source from 1362 and the Beginning of a Discussion
Abstract From the 1340s to the end of the 14th century various types of administrative sources document a growing presence of Hungarian mercenaries in many cities from Central Italy, such as Rome, Ancona, Orvieto or Bologna. The activity of such specialized (and consequently very wellremunerated) military forces can be partly reconstructed, primarily due to the fiscal registers of the Holy See, which often employed Hungarian companies. Certainly, this phenomenon had political basis and can be easily related to the general interest of the House of Anjou of Hungary towards the Italian Peninsula. But if the economic, diplomatic and cultural implications of these relations between the two entities have been investigated, the history of these professional armed forces has so far attracted little attention. This contribution intends to start a discussion on this issue, presenting and analysing a detailed list compiled in 1362, preserved in the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano, within the collections of the Apostolic Chamber. It provides interesting information in relation to where these forces were located, in what particular type of military activity they were specialized, what was the cost of their services and, finally, what was the real ethnic origin of those generically defined “Ungari”.