The borders and character of the Duchy of Hungary are subject to academic debates over centuries. The scholars agree that the Duchy was created as an internal part of the Hungarian kingdom in the 11th century. In Slovak historiography, the Duchy is called ‘the Principality of Nitra’, while Hungarian historians localize its center rather to Bihar. Nevertheless, both interpretations are based on the suggestions of the Vienna Illuminated chronicle from the 14th century. My research addresses the unreliability of such late suggestions and it stresses the character of the Duchy within the Hungarian kingdom with prisma of contemporary sources.
This paper examines several changes of borders between the castellanies of Savoy. A few involved Montmélian, the seat of the bailiwick of Savoy proper: some were administrative decisions reflecting the allocation of the castellanies’ revenues, but a disputed case involved a local aristocrat (c. 1400 castellanies were often given out for decades in exchange for loans). Notably, the dispute regarding the castellany of Ugine’s ‘limites’ entailed the redefinition of the border between Savoy and the county of Geneva. Special attention will be paid to the social knowledge of the witnesses called to testify in the inquests about the border disputes.
The problem of setting borders and frontiers is not only geopolitical but also cultural and ideological. These ideological processes imply different views of space, state and territory and, as for late medieval Italy, historians are confronted with a polymorphic territoriality which obliges to contemplate the existence of many distinctive strategies of territorialization. This paper shifts attention from the accustomed political and juridical questions to the conceptual and practical relationship between the act of borderity and the establishment of a diplomatic territorialization – that is, a way of territorialization based on a diplomatic process that creates fictive bordered areas like they were concrete geopolitical realities. Two fundamental questions are here addressed: is there a congenital link between borders, territory, and territoriality? How geopolitical borders were conceived before being organized, imagined before being represented? The problem is connected to how pre-modern states made a use of geographic space and, from a diplomatic angle, frontiers and boundaries represent a concurrent point of territorial worries, geographical needs and political competition. Therefore, the conceptual arsenal about territoriality set out by the diplomatic and literary sources is useful in outlining a specific geopolitical logic. Experimenting with different methodological approaches, the paper suggests a new interpretative model aiming to define the perception and the expression of a 15th-century territorial dimension that still was under construction in the Italian peninsula.