Protocol formulas in the habsburg-transylvanian treaties from 1540-1570 – between tradition and modernity
Autor: Octavian Tătar
The sixteenth century documents concerning the diplomatic relationships between the Transylvanian officials (from Transylvania) and the Viennese ones (Austrian) maintain, in their general features, the constructive scheme of the Medieval Latin chancelleries. However, as concerns the intitulatio, in the sixteenth century a tendency of “embellishment” of the royal title with original, even mythic and legendary elements, became pronounced. Many of these additions had no longer a correspondent in reality. After John Zápolya, king of Hungary’s death in 1540, the House of Austria denied any royal title to John Sigismund, the son of the dead king. If in the case of Isabella, the Austrian authorities had no problem in calling her “serenissima dona, regina Isabella” or “Isabella, regina Hungariae vidua”, their attitude towards John Sigismund was completely different. Between 1559 and 1570, John Sigismund was permanently called by the Viennese officials “dux Joannes Sigismundus” and “dux Joannes Sigismundus, serenissimi quondam Regis Joannis filium”, and never “princeps” as it is very often affirmed. As concerns Isabella, in the correspondence with Ferdinand I of Habsburg she used the following formula: “Ferdinandus, divina favente clementia Romanorum, Hungariae, Bohemiae, Dalmaciae, Croaciae, Sclavoniae etc. rex semper augustus, infans Hispaniarum, arhidux Austriae”. In official documents addressed to Ferdinand, Isabella used for herself the following formula: “Nos Isabella, dei gratia regina Hungariae, Dalmaciae, Croaciae etc. . .” In the same documents, when referring to her son, the Queen Isabella used, most often the formula “illustrissimus Joannes dux, filius nostri.”
The treaty of Speyer, from 16 August 1570, ends up the dispute between the Habsburgs and Zápolya family for the “legacy of Hungary”. In the treaty, both high dignitaries acknowledged mutually the following titles: Joannes, serenissimi olim Joannis, regis Hungariae, Dalmatiae, Croatiae etc. filius, dei gratia princes Transylvaniae ac partium regni Hungariae”; “serenissimus princes dominus Maximilianus secundus, electus Romanorum imperator, semper augustus ac Germaniae, Hungariae, Bohemiae, Dalmatiae, Croatiae, Sclavoniae etc. rex, archidux Austriae, dux Burgundiae, Stiriae, Carinthiae, Carniolae et Wirtembergeae etc., comes Tirolis etc. ”.
In conclusion, the royal titles disputed by the two parties in 1540-1570 illustrate a political dispute rather than a juridical-political and territorial reality. Expressed in forms and formulas having medieval connotations, the entitling points out a diplomatic practice belonging to the modern age rather than the medieval diplomatic routine.