Author:
János Bárth University of Szeged, Hungary

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Abstract

The Hungarian ethnographic group known as the Szekler people live in the Eastern Carpathians, a mountainous area that formed the eastern border of historical Hungary prior to 1920, and since 1920, with a minor interruption, the center of Romania. The traditionalist Szeklers designated those village districts that enjoyed ethnic autonomy by the name tizes (tenth). The author of the present study endeavors to illustrate, on the basis of written documents, the nature of the tizes as a Szekler village district and neighborhood community and how it functioned in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. In Szekler villages in the modern era, a village district was considered to be a genuine tizes if it had a tradition of self-governance and a variable level of autonomy, and if it was regarded as a self-governing unit of the settlement and society. The population of the tizes formed a local social, neighborhood group, whose sense of the tizes was consistent with the village-level consciousness of other, similar groups. From a settlement perspective, the village comprised several tizes, each one a unit of the settlement. In social terms, the village community was a combination of several tizes communities. In most cases, the Szekler tizes in the modern era had a distinguishing name, an elected leadership, property, basic self-governance, policing and penal jurisdiction, and its own records and administration. In the 17th to 19th centuries, the village districts and neighborhood communities designated by the word tizes may have owned property (e.g., forests, pastures, meadows), animals (bulls, boars), work-related equipment and objects (plow, drill, fire-fighting equipment, chest, stamp, documents), buildings and institutions (church, chapel, cemetery, school, cultural center, cross), and employees (bellringer, forester, herder). In most Szekler inhabited regions in the early 21st century, reminders of the former tizes are to be found only in the form of geographical names and vernacular data. The traditional form, role, and function of these historical autonomous village districts are best preserved in the region once known as the county of Csík in the former Kingdom of Hungary (now Ciuc, Romania). In the merged villages of Csíkszentgyörgy (now Ciucsângeorgiu, Romania) and Csíkbánkfalva (now Bancu, Romania) there are eight functioning tizes still in existence in the third decade of the 21st century. For this reason, the life of the tizes of Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva has been chosen as the subject of the present study.

Abstract

The Hungarian ethnographic group known as the Szekler people live in the Eastern Carpathians, a mountainous area that formed the eastern border of historical Hungary prior to 1920, and since 1920, with a minor interruption, the center of Romania. The traditionalist Szeklers designated those village districts that enjoyed ethnic autonomy by the name tizes (tenth). The author of the present study endeavors to illustrate, on the basis of written documents, the nature of the tizes as a Szekler village district and neighborhood community and how it functioned in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. In Szekler villages in the modern era, a village district was considered to be a genuine tizes if it had a tradition of self-governance and a variable level of autonomy, and if it was regarded as a self-governing unit of the settlement and society. The population of the tizes formed a local social, neighborhood group, whose sense of the tizes was consistent with the village-level consciousness of other, similar groups. From a settlement perspective, the village comprised several tizes, each one a unit of the settlement. In social terms, the village community was a combination of several tizes communities. In most cases, the Szekler tizes in the modern era had a distinguishing name, an elected leadership, property, basic self-governance, policing and penal jurisdiction, and its own records and administration. In the 17th to 19th centuries, the village districts and neighborhood communities designated by the word tizes may have owned property (e.g., forests, pastures, meadows), animals (bulls, boars), work-related equipment and objects (plow, drill, fire-fighting equipment, chest, stamp, documents), buildings and institutions (church, chapel, cemetery, school, cultural center, cross), and employees (bellringer, forester, herder). In most Szekler inhabited regions in the early 21st century, reminders of the former tizes are to be found only in the form of geographical names and vernacular data. The traditional form, role, and function of these historical autonomous village districts are best preserved in the region once known as the county of Csík in the former Kingdom of Hungary (now Ciuc, Romania). In the merged villages of Csíkszentgyörgy (now Ciucsângeorgiu, Romania) and Csíkbánkfalva (now Bancu, Romania) there are eight functioning tizes still in existence in the third decade of the 21st century. For this reason, the life of the tizes of Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva has been chosen as the subject of the present study.

Introduction

Within the Hungarian language area that extends into eight countries in 21st-century Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia), Hungarian historical sources refer to village districts and town districts that enjoyed a greater or lesser degree of autonomy in the 17th to 19th centuries as tized [tenth], fertály [quarter], or utca [street] (Bárth 2015:911).

The Szeklers, a Hungarian ethnographic group with a rich tradition and distinctive culture, used the word tizes, a dialect variant of tized. The Szeklers live in Transylvania, among the valleys and basins of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains. Prior to 1920, the territory they inhabit formed the eastern borderlands of historical Hungary, while since 1920, with a brief interruption, it can be regarded as the center of Romania (Egyed 2006).

In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, Szekler villages were, sooner or later, divided into village sections with a certain autonomy, which were designated in the historical sources and in everyday usage by the word tizes. From a settlement perspective, the village comprised several settlement units, each known as a tizes. In social terms, the village community was a combination of several tizes communities, while the village as a social and former administrative unit was made up of the inhabitants of several tizes districts.

In Szekler villages in the modern era, a village district was considered to be a genuine tizes if it had a tradition of self-governance and a variable level of autonomy, and if it was regarded as a self-governing unit of the settlement and society. Its population formed a local social, neighborhood group, whose sense of the tizes was consistent with the village consciousness of several similar groups.

As parts of the settlement representing different levels of administrative autonomy, the tizes districts that made up the villages present a morphologically diverse picture in the modern era. In some places, such as Csíkszentgyörgy for example, the tizes districts were connected as parts of a homogeneous settlement. In other places, such as Csíkszentlélek and Csíkmindszent, they were separated in the form of small hamlets, while certain groups of tizes districts formed a fragmented village that could still be regarded as a unified community (Duka 1978). There were also villages, such as Menaság, in which three tizes districts formed a block, while two were separated from the others.

In the modern era, in most cases the Szekler tizes had a distinguishing name, an elected leadership, basic self-government, policing and penal jurisdiction, and its own records, administration, and property. In the 17th to 19th centuries, the tizes may have owned property (e.g., forests, pastures, meadows), animals (bulls, boars), work-related equipment and objects (plow, drill, fire-fighting equipment, chest, stamp, documents), buildings and institutions (church, chapel, cemetery, school, cultural center, cross), and employees (bellringer, forester, herder).

In the 20th century, in most of the areas inhabited by the Szeklers, reminders of the former tizes are to be found only in geographical names and vernacular data. The traditional form, role, and function of these historical autonomous village districts are best preserved in the Csík region.

The tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva, on the eastern margin of the Alcsík Basin, were particularly active before 1949. These two elongated villages, which were merged together, formed “one county,” meaning a single parish. The shared parish church stood on the border of the two villages. This large parish brought together the two communities and their tizes districts within one organizational framework. In the modern era, the village community of Szentgyörgy comprised Háromtizes, Jenőfalva tizes, and Körösmény tizes. Bánkfalva was divided into Ittkétfalva tizes, Simószege tizes, Martonos tizes, and Altizes, along with Kotormány tizes, which was separated from the others (Bárth 2007, 2014).

In what follows, I outline the life and activities of the tizes districts of Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva from the 17th to the 20th century, based extant documents among their own former records, mainly tizes minutes and tizes-related correspondence. Unfortunately, the written documents that serve as sources for the present study are not preserved in archives but are owned by village families and private individuals. In 2004/2005, after a great deal of research and investigation, I made photocopies of nearly 8,000 pages. For the time being, this collection of photocopies, which has been given the name Tizes Archive, is preserved as my own property (Bárth 2007:30–40, 382; 2008:152–153).

Tizes constitutions and laws

The tizes districts of Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva created constitutions and laws for themselves, comparable to the village laws of well-functioning village communities (Imreh 1989). These were regularly referred to in their decisions.

In as early as 1,619, the Körösmény tizes drew up a constitution for itself in order to safeguard its protected forest. The document focused on regulating access to the forest and on the way in which the forest was divided. If someone failed to act on the tizes forest magistrates' orders to go out and apprehend anyone damaging or destroying the commonly owned forest, it was regarded as a punishable offence.

On March 22, 1700, landowners in the three lower village districts of Bánkfalva — Altizes, Martonos tizes, and Simószege tizes — compiled a common forest protection and forest utilization law. We learn from a comment in the introduction to the constitution that the above-mentioned tizes districts already had a law, but it had been lost, thus the new law had been written based on the old law while the members of the tizes were still able to remember what the old law contained. The relatively lengthy and detailed constitution of 1700 comprehensively regulated the manner in which the shared protected forests were to be protected and utilized. Those who drafted the law placed particular emphasis on the punishment of forest-related offences. The constitution was affirmed on several occasions, notably in 1744, 1753, and 1758.

Like the village laws, the Szekler tizes laws generally comprise a series of clauses containing prohibitions and the respective penalties for offenders. One slight exception was the 1795 constitution of the Háromtizes district of Csíkszentgyörgy, which, while also containing prohibitions and penalties, focuses primarily on the designation of a new protected forest, defined by geographical names.

On January 3, 1814, the farmers of Körösmény tizes held a meeting to elect a chief forest magistrate, at which they adopted a nine-point constitution. The points in the new tizes law were drafted with a view to protecting the tizes forest.

The 1820 constitution of Martonos tizes is a refreshing example in terms of the tizes laws, in as much as it primarily summarized rules governing the daily life and regular functioning of the tizes and only secondarily dealt with the safeguarding of the protected forest. This fine example of a tizes law covers, among other things, topics such as the tizes revenue, methods for being “acknowledged” at tizes meetings, the extent of the requisite internal plot needed to become a tizes member, the obligation to attend tizes meetings, punishments for failure to perform communal work in the tizes, the exploitation of the Lófőrész mountain pasture, the rules of conduct at meetings, etc.

The 1840 constitution of Háromtizes deals almost entirely with the issue of forest seizure. In this tizes law, the farmers of Háromtizes very clearly expressed the need for strict action against forest seizures as well as the ways in which those who cleared and occupied the forest in an attempt to reduce the size of the protected forest were to be punished.

On March 25, 1845, Altizes, Martonos tizes and Simószege tizes — that is, the lower three tizes districts of Bánkfalva — held a joint meeting at which the participating farmers declared in a joint constitution that one particular mountain area, which was referred to as a “forest of saplings,” was to be placed under protection. The young trees required care, attention, and tending in order to grow strong. For this reason, it was important to draw up duties, rules, and penalties to protect the growing forest.

Even after 1848, in the so-called civic era, the tizes districts of Csíkszentgyörgy created tizes laws known as “constitutions.” Some good examples include the tizes law of Jenőfalva tizes from 1860, and the Körösmény tizes laws passed in 1870 and 1882.

Tizes members, revenue, and rights and obligations

Heads of families who “had themselves acknowledged” at a tizes meeting — that is, who enjoyed full rights to the protected forest of their tizes, were referred to various ways in the 17th to 19th centuries. They were most commonly defined as bébírós or bébíró [admitted], tilalmasba bébíró [admitted to the protected forest], tag [member], birtokos [owner], részes tilalmas jussában [having a share in the rights to the protected forest], or tizes kebelén való [belonging to the tizes].

Even today, the word “right” (jog) in Szekler usage is used to indicate tizes rights and commonage. Possession of the right of tizes commonage and possession of 20th-century village commonage were not considered as a legal status of the same order. In the case of the tizes districts, “right” originally meant membership of the tizes and the possibility for and basis of a share in the common property of the tizes, while in the case of village commonage it indicated the extent of utilization of the common property.

The tizes right, which could be obtained by means of residence in the tizes, ownership of an internal plot of the required size within it, and the performance of the rite of “acknowledgement,” ensured “admission” to the usufruct of the common tizes property. In 20th-century tizes commonage, unlike village commonage that encompassed the entire village, the number of rights and the number of members were identical, with a few recent exceptions. The holder of a tizes right was considered as a member of the tizes, and as someone who had been “admitted,” who was able to cast one vote at tizes meetings regardless of social status or wealth. A tizes member enjoyed an equal share in the usufruct of tizes property as all other tizes members.

The fact of being resident in a tizes was of decisive importance in terms of gaining access to tizes property. A young man who was born in the tizes and grew up there could hope to acquire a right to the tizes protected forest as an adult farmer. However, anyone born in a different tizes or village, who had grown up outside the tizes but who had acquired property within it by means of marriage, inheritance, or the purchase of a plot and had thus become a resident of the tizes, could become a beneficiary of the tizes protected forest only at considerable financial expense, by paying a higher than average acknowledgement fee. In the 18th to 20th centuries, only someone who owned a plot of a certain size within the tizes could be a full beneficiary of the protected common property of the tizes and at the same time a taxpayer in the tizes. In 1846, the Körösmény tizes required possession of an internal plot at least 16 acres in length and 8 acres wide in order to claim membership of the tizes.

No one, not even the male heir of a true-born member of the tizes, was automatically entitled to membership of the tizes. Anyone wishing to be admitted as a tizes member, providing the other conditions for the acquisition of the right were satisfied, had to “have himself acknowledged” at one of the tizes assemblies. On the occasion of the “acknowledgment,” at the proposal of the tizes magistrate the tizes members discussed the applicant's wishes in meticulous detail, then, in the hope of receiving a payment into the tizes treasury and a drink at the assembly, in most cases participants voted unanimously for “admission to the tizes.” The acknowledgment fee set by participants at the meeting depended in equal measure on the applicant's parentage, status, and the means by which he owned property in the tizes. The lowest fees were paid by the descendants of native inhabitants, who had inherited their internal plots and their rights to the protected forest from their fathers. In general, all applicants had to pay a “bull” contribution and buy a drink for everyone. The bull contribution was the money contributed, under a variety of titles, to the gradual procurement of the difference in price between the cost of an old tizes bull to be sold or slaughtered and the cost of the purchase of a young tizes bull. By way of a toast, applicants for membership of the tizes provided or paid for a glass of fruit brandy for participants at the tizes assembly.

A farmer who was accepted as a member of a tizes — that is, who attained the rank and status of “admitted” — was entitled to the benefits of the common lands and common properties of his tizes as follows: 1) He was entitled to the same share as the other tizes members of communal firewood from the tizes protected forest, which, because of its proximity, was relatively easier to transport to the village than wood from the distant mountain forests of the parish. 2) During the summer plowing season, he was allowed to graze his livestock in the temporary pastures cleared in the nearby protected forest. 3) As long as it was customary to fatten pigs on forest acorns, he could have one of his pigs fattened on acorns in the protected forest of the tizes. 4) He could use the tizes bull and boar for breeding his own cattle and pigs. 5) He could graze his cattle and pigs, without paying the meadow tax, in a herd organized by the tizes in the fallow land in the crop rotation system, or on the tizes pastureland at edge of the tizes forest near the village. 6) In an emergency, for example when building a house, or in the event of fire or flood damage, he could ask for and receive help from his tizes. 7) He could rest assured that, after his death, his remains would not be buried in the village cemetery but would be laid to rest in the “more distinguished” tizes cemetery.

A farmer with tizes rights was obliged to accept the burdens of the tizes in exchange for the benefits of ownership of the common property: 1) If necessary, he guarded the forest in the order of his house. 2) He regularly maintained and repaired the section of common fence assigned to his family, even without being requested to do so. 3) He constructed and repaired roads, streets, bridges, ditches, and community buildings as part of his community work for the tizes. 4) He provided bull manure on an annual basis — that is, he supplied manure, in proportion to the number of his cows, to the land owned by the farmer who looked after the tizes bull. 5) He supported any of his fellow tizes members in financial difficulties by giving up his own wood allocation or by giving money when necessary.

Forums, officials, and employees of the tizes

In the 17th to 19th centuries, important decisions affecting the life and property of the tizes were taken at the general assembly of tizes members. Commonly referred to as a general assembly or a full assembly, such meetings were held at the home of the tizes judge as and when necessary. The most important decision-making forum of the tizes typically met at the beginning and end of the year.

During the weeks and months between the general assemblies, decisions were taken on topical issues by the tizes council, which was known by a variety of names such as the landowners' council, magistracy, or board.

For centuries, the people living in the Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva tizes districts referred to the elected head of the tizes as the tizes magistrate or chief forest magistrate. The two terms existed alongside one another. Tizes magistrate was used more in everyday speech, while chief forest magistrate was used in the minutes of tizes meetings and in official documents. The title tizes magistrate obviously referred to the primary function of the tizes official. The title chief forest magistrate was related to the fact that the protected forest was the most important property owned by the tizes, while the activities of its elected leader were primarily concerned with the fate, protection, and exploitation of the forest.

It is also worth looking at the duties of the tizes magistrate, since the list sheds light on the daily life of the neighborhood community known as the tizes. From the tizes minutes and documents, we can conclude that in the 18th and 19th centuries, the tizes magistrate was most often involved in the following tasks: as the head of the tizes, he presided over the tizes assemblies and the meetings of the tizes council, and he represented the tizes before the village; he managed the property and money of the tizes; he regularly lent surplus money, in return for interest, for the purposes of promoting the growth of the capital of the tizes; he raised funds in order to cover expenses and kept an accurate annual account of the incomes and expenditures of the tizes; he protected, safeguarded, and arranged for the safeguarding of the pride and joy of the tizes: the protected forest; he seized and fined anyone who damaged the forest and anyone who failed to perform communal work; he organized the share in the protected forest received by the tizes members; he directed wood and meadow auctions and conducted larger timber sales; he organized and supervised the state, community, and tizes communal work. In contemporary parlance, he commanded the members of the tizes to carry out community work when necessary; he was responsible for the purchase, sale, and raising of the male animals (bull and boar) of the tizes; he supervised the grazing order of tizes members' animals; he hired and supervised shepherds; he was responsible for maintaining the tizes chapel and the fence of the tizes cemetery; he was responsible for the roads and bridges of the tizes, as well as for the gates at the borders of the tizes and the mineral water springs. He also had them repaired if necessary.

The tizes magistrate was assisted mainly by the vice forest magistrates, who represented the smaller neighborhood groups within the tizes. Their most important task was to guard the tizes forests. The minutes of the tizes assemblies were recorded in the protocol book by the tizes notary. He also drew up the accounts of the tizes magistrates and drafted tizes contracts and letters.

There is some evidence to suggest that an elected person with the title of fiskus played a kind of judicial, punitive, and peacemaking role in the old tizes districts. His primary task was probably to ensure order and calm at the tizes assemblies.

As in the villages, the larger tizes districts in the second half of the 19th century also had their own soot magistrate, an elected person responsible for fire protection. He regularly inspected the operation, cleaning, and maintenance of the traditional combustion appliances in family homes, as well as the presence and functionality of fire-fighting equipment.

The elected official who dealt with matters relating to the tizes bull was known as the bull magistrate. The title bull magistrate was almost always used in the plural, as two bull magistrates were typically elected: one for the upper part of the tizes and one for the lower. Among other things, the bull magistrates were responsible for having the old district bull slaughtered, portioning out the meat, and collecting the price of the two or three pounds of meat from the tizes members who were obliged to purchase it. This was another way of raising the money to purchase a new tizes bull. When selling and buying bulls, the bull magistrates were the chief supporters and assistants of the tizes magistrate, who carried out this important task. The bull magistrates were responsible for the fate of the tizes bull. They regularly checked whether the bull's keeper was performing his task properly, whether he was respecting his contract for the keeping of the bull, whether he was giving the bull sufficient food and drink, and whether breeding was being carried out appropriately.

The tizes districts that owned a church, chapel, or cemetery usually elected a chapel magistrate, who typically remained in the role for many years. In the second half of the 19th century, the chapel magistrate mainly carried out the following duties: he managed, and if possible increased, the chapel's financial assets. To this end, he loaned out the chapel's capital at interest. He drew up annual accounts of the chapel's finances, revenues, and expenses, which he presented to both the parish priest of Csíkszentgyörgy and the tizes assembly. He monitored the condition of the tizes church, the tizes chapel, the church fence, the tizes cemetery and the cemetery fence. If he found any anomalies or defects, he had them repaired. He supervised the work of the bellringer; he supervised funeral arrangements in the cemetery and kept a list of those who were entitled to be buried there.

After 1949, when the tizes districts could no longer own forests and when their activities were largely confined to looking after their churches, chapels, and cemeteries, the role of the chapel magistrates became more important. Between 1950 and 1990, the chapel magistrate in some tizes districts replaced the tizes magistrate, whose function had become redundant.

In those tizes districts where several bridges over the Fiság stream required maintenance, the population of the tizes was divided into “bridge communities” in the 19th and 20th centuries. These bridge communities were headed by bridge magistrates, chosen by the tizes assembly from among the farmers who lived near the bridges and who had good organizational skills. The bridge magistrates kept a constant eye on the bridges that were entrusted to them. If they discovered any damage, they had the bridge repaired. For the repairs, they requested wood from the tizes and recruited men from the relevant bridge community (Bárth 2007:79−83).

In the second half of the 19th century, if a tizes had a granary, grain was loaned and the grain interest was collected by the elected granary magistrate. Summer pasture companies or fellowships of sheep farmers were organized by tizes or tizes division (Bárth 2017:217−220). These functioned as economic organizations. Their leaders, the summer pasture magistrates, were elected not by the tizes but by the summer pasture companies of sheep farmers. Thus, as the head of the tizes summer pasture company and the organizer of the summer and autumn grazing of sheep flocks in the tizes, the summer pasture magistrate was one of the elected officials in the tizes, even though he was not appointed by the tizes assembly.

The tizes “employees” were, first and foremost, those who tended the herds and flocks of the tizes, who were hired by participants in the tizes assembly and by the tizes leaders. Their wages were paid by the tizes farmers who drove their animals out to them. The shepherds' wages comprised the following items: grain measured in cups, bread measured in pounds, and “boot money” measured in silver coin (garas). The tizes herd of cows and pigs, sometimes supplemented with horses and goats, grazed as a so-called homecoming herd on fallow land or at the edge of the tizes forests close to the village. The herds of the tizes farmers were tended by the tizes cowherd and swineherd. Sometimes, a separate horse herder and goat herder helped with the summer grazing. Some tizes districts would also hire a winter swineherd and an acorn swineherd to take the winter herd up to the tizes protected forest.

In the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, several tizes districts employed paid forest wardens to protect their forests from the theft of wood. Háromtizes, Kotormány, and Altizes also had their own bellringer. One important element in the bellringers' contracts was their low wages, which were supplemented by additional benefits in kind, such as grass from the cemetery, or sometimes firewood from the protected forest. In addition to ringing the bells three times a day, the duties of the tizes bellringer included ringing against “strong weather” — that is, against rainstorms and thunder. The tariff for bellringing for the deceased was repeatedly regulated by the tizes, depending on the current financial situation.

Tizes property and its utilization

The tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva owned tizes forests in periods for which historical sources are available. Ownership of the forests has probably contributed to the fact that in the life of the two villages, the tizes is not merely a linguistic and local historical relic in the early 21st century but also a living social and neighborhood organizational structure.

With few exceptions, the mountain lands owned by the Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva tizes districts formed an enormous mass on the western border of the Csík Mountains, on the eastern side of the Fiság stream and the elongated inland area adjacent to it. This mass of tizes land was divided among the tizes districts according to their order in the valley.

The history of the tizes lands of Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva is lost in the mists of time, with no written documentation. At some unknown time, when drawing up the internal village boundaries, the past inhabitants of Szentgyörgy and Bánkfalva wisely thought of separating for the tizes districts the tizes forested areas in sequence from the rest of the areas on the border, adjacent to the elongated settlement area in the valley of the Fiság stream, in addition to the fields and meadows belonging to the villages in the mountains that closed the valley of the Fiság stream from the east. Over the centuries, the locals have justified the designation, maintenance, and protection of the tizes forests outside the village by claiming that these forests provide the people of the tizes with firewood that is relatively easy to carry home, and that the cattle of the tizes districts feed in the forest clearings and undergrowth during the plowing season.

In 1,619, when the Körösmény tizes created its first written constitution, the forests around the village already existed, in the very same place where they would stand for the next four hundred years or so. One can assume that the other tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva also owned forests near the village at an unknown date in the early 17th century. Following well-documented ownership in the 18th and 19th centuries, the tizes forests served the farmers of the tizes until the mid-20th century, subsequently surviving half a century of state management before once again becoming tizes commonages in the early years of the 21st century.

At the end of the 19th century, the three tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy owned lands roughly equal in size. It was as if some invisible hand had measured the hillsides and ridges to ensure that Háromtizes, Jenőfalva tizes and Körösmény tizes would each own land of around 400 acres. The size of the land holdings in the Bánkfalva tizes districts presented a more varied picture. Ittkétfalva, the largest tizes of the village, owned more than 300 acres. It was followed by Altizes and Martonos tizes with over 200 acres and less than 200 acres respectively. Simószege tizes and Kotormány tizes had less than 100 acres.

Most of tizes holdings were forested land. The forestland that was declared protected forest by the tizes districts and safeguarded with great care was interrupted by clearings that could be leased for mowing or temporarily grazed by animals, with a strip of shrubs along the edge of the forest towards the village. It was from this strip of shrubs, or pre-forest, that the 20th-century tizes pastures were formed at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, largely on the initiative of the higher authorities.

Forest management, including freedom of the forest, the distribution of wood allowances for tizes members, timber auctions, and timber donations, were themes that together constituted the most important element, driver, and motivation of tizes activities at all times. By analyzing 18th- and 19th-century district decrees, the order of timber allocation activities can be outlined as follows.

In the 19th century, the wood allowance for tizes members was mostly measured in terms of volume (terű) and number of trees (szál). The tizes districts repeatedly emphasized that at times when free access to the forest was granted, members were permitted to take one terű of wood. To prevent anyone from gaining an unfair advantage at the expense of others, the tizes districts: 1) determined in advance the type and size of cart permitted; 2) determined in advance the number of cattle permitted to pull the cart; and 3) assigned to the forest magistrates the task of checking the size of the terűs.

Over the centuries, many rules have been drawn up governing tizes members' access to wood from the protected forest. Freedom of the forest typically comprised three steps: 1) the marking of trees by the forest magistrates and their assistants; 2) the supply of the forest magistrates' timber allowances; and 3) the cutting and transportation of timber by the majority of tizes members.

On the first day of the freedom of the forest, the marking of trees was carried out by the forest magistrates, directed by the chief forest magistrate. In most cases, the tizes selected assistants in an effort to speed up the marking. Many different techniques were used to mark those trees that were to be felled and those that could not be felled.

In all tizes districts, the rational and practical custom was for the forest magistrates and their invited assistants to remove their timber from the forest a day earlier than the rest of the tizes members. Thus, on the day of the general timber removal, the forest magistrates did not have to bother themselves with felling their own timber, hauling it down the mountain, loading, and transporting it, since they were expected to fulfil the role of supervisors and controllers on that day.

For the majority of tizes members, the regular tree felling day was the busiest day in the life of the tizes. The tizes leaders insisted that everyone had to remove their timber allowance from the forest on the designated day. The felling, “finishing,” hauling, and loading of the timber might begin at dawn on the designated day, as the forest magistrates who were in charge would leave the village in order to arrive at the protected forest at sunrise.

The tizes districts expected farmers to return from the protected forest with their loaded carts and sleds at around the same time. In most cases, they also designated the route for the return journey. Any tizes member who did not keep up with the other farmers but strayed from the designated route or arrived home late, after dark, easily fell under suspicion. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the tizes districts sometimes sold large quantities of timber to sawmills and timber merchants. The proceeds were used to pay off debts and cover major expenses, and were more rarely distributed among the members of the tizes.

To protect the grass in the clearings and on the shrubby edges of the forest, all the tizes districts prohibited access to the protected forest in the first half of the summer. The ban usually began on around May 15 and ended on the feast day of St. John the Baptist, on June 24. No animals were permitted to graze in the protected forest during the period when the ban was in place. In the 19th and 20th centuries, one of the reasons for the ban was that the tizes districts divided the banned clearings and shrubland into “openings” and rented them out to contractors for mowing and haymaking. The lease of these forest mowing areas ran for the duration of the ban. The hay had to be mown in June, then collected and ideally removed by June 24, since around the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the day on which the ban was lifted, livestock owned by members of the tizes appeared in the area to graze.

In the 19th-century documents, the tizes districts repeatedly reiterated that the main purpose of the clearings in the protected forests was to provide grazing for the working animals of the families of tizes members before the ban and after the free access to the forest. The tizes resolutions repeatedly made it clear that no animals other than draft cattle were to be grazed on the pastures in the protected forest: milking cattle were to be grazed in herds organized by the tizes in the pastures on fallow land, and “resting cattle” were to be grazed along with the parish's mountain herd during the summer.

Tizes sacred sites and community buildings

The parish or “county” of Csíkszentgyörgy united and still unites the populations of two villages: Szentgyörgy and Bánkfalva. Dedicated to the martyr St. George, the parish church, with its medieval Gothic chancel, stands in the territory of Csíkszentgyörgy, but on the border between the two villages. In the 19th century, the parish of Csíkszentgyörgy was dotted with small churches and chapels. These small churches and chapels, located inside the village or close to it, were mostly linked to one or other of the tizes districts. Certain tizes districts could even be said to have their own tizes church or chapel. Towering on a hilltop, the Church of the Visitation belonged to the remote Kotormány tizes. The church of St. John the Baptist on the edge of the village was claimed by Altizes. The Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross was built among the houses of Háromtizes and was regarded as the property of the tizes. Jenőfalva tizes maintained the Chapel of Our Lady on Pósa Hill. The fact that, at the end of the 20th century, Körösmény tizes celebrated St. Anne's Day (July 26) as its parish feast suggests that the tizes perhaps had some kind of spiritual connection with the small chapel of St. Anne. The Church of the Passion of Jesus, also known as the Passion or Calvary church, does not seem to have been connected with a particular tizes. However, the 19th-century public work reports of Martonos tizes suggest a connection between the people of Martonos and the Calvary Church (Bárth 2007:295–325).

The tizes churches and chapels were built, repaired, and maintained by the tizes members who were linked to them. Their bellringers received their remuneration from the tizes. The furnishings and religious items in the churches were installed and renewed thanks to donations by the tizes districts and their members.

Because of the long distances and difficulties in transportation, the priests of the parish of Csíkszentgyörgy made little effort to increase the number of liturgical services in the tizes churches in the 19th century. The tizes districts, on the other hand, sought to increase the number of services in their churches for the very same reasons. In other words, the church ministers urged people living in remote tizes districts, such as Háromtizes, Altizes, and Kotormány tizes, to attend mass in the mother church on feast days and Sundays, walking four to five kilometres to do so, even in adverse weather conditions. On the other hand, the tizes districts with their own church did everything they could to get the parish priest or chaplain of Szentgyörgy to conduct services in the church of their tizes as often as possible. This “conflict of interest” gave rise to many quarrels and disputes. Háromtizes in particular put up a strong fight, and its efforts were not in vain since it achieved far more rights than other tizes districts with churches. In the 20th century, the people of Háromtizes obtained the privilege of attending mass in their church every Sunday.

The mother church in Csíkszentgyörgy has two feast days: the Feast of St. George the Martyr (April 24) and the Feast of the Queen of the Rosary (October 7). The first is mainly a church event. The popular version of the feast day did not emerge until the early 21st century. The second is the feast day of the Bánkfalva side aisle of the mother church, popularly known as the “reading feast.” Ittkétfalva, Martonos, and Simószege tizes districts — that is, the three tizes districts of Bánkfalva without a church — consider this as their own, marking it with a joyful, hospitable church celebration.

Those tizes districts with their own church or chapel hold a joyous parish feast with invited guests on their respective saint's day: Háromtizes on May 3, the feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross, the day after which the tizes church is named. Jenőfalva tizes on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the chapel on Pósa Hill. Körösmény tizes on July 26, St. Anne's Day, the patronal feast of the small chapel of St. Anne near the Calvary Church. Altizes on June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the tizes church. Kotormány tizes on July 2, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patronal feast of the tizes church.

Tizes festivals continue to be an excellent means of expressing tizes identity at the beginning of the 21st century, and a great opportunity for tizes members and those who have moved away to gather. Those who have moved to neighboring tizes districts, to nearby Szekler villages, to the bigger cities in Transylvania, to Bucharest, or Hungary, try to return home for the tizes festival. On the day of the festival, the current residents of the tizes are joined by approximately the same number of people who lived there formerly. The tizes feast is a symbolic representation of the district, a celebration of the everyday life and historical memory of the tizes. Most of the population of Alcsík are aware that the festival of St. John the Baptist is the feast of Altizes, and that the festival of the Discovery of the Holy Cross is the patronal feast of Háromtizes. These feasts are a reminder for the Szeklers of the Alcsík region of the Altizes of Bánkfalva and the Háromtizes of Szentgyörgy. For the inhabitants of the tizes, for those who originate from there, and for those living in the area alike, the tizes festival is a manifestation of tizes identity.

Besides the local public cemetery, there were three other cemeteries in the parish of Csíkszentgyörgy in the 19th and 20th centuries: two in the outermost tizes districts of the elongated clump of settlements (Háromtizes and Altizes), and one in the remote Kotormány tizes. The tizes cemeteries adjacent to the tizes churches were repeatedly enlarged by the tizes districts through donations of land or financial contributions. The repair and replacement of their fences was a regular aspect of tizes public works. Internal order was the responsibility of the tizes bellringers. In most cases, only true-born, admitted tizes members and their families were allowed to be buried in the tizes cemeteries.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva had an abundance of outdoor calvaries, as befitted a Roman Catholic village. These wooden crosses, with conical, shingled roofs, often featured inscriptions and ornate carving and were mostly erected by individuals, families, neighborhood groups, and tizes rosary societies. The tizes districts shared in the burden as well as the honor of erecting, maintaining, and renewing the calvaries. This is clearly reflected in tizes documentation and the inscriptions on the calvaries.

In the middle third of the 19th century, before the school in Háromtizes became a “parish” school, Háromtizes was already running an “unofficial private tizes school.” In the first half of the 1930s, at huge financial sacrifice and with a great deal of public work, Háromtizes constructed a tizes house that functioned as a community center.

The survival of the tizes

In the second half of the 19th century, the majority of the Szekler tizes districts found it difficult to cope with the laws of the Hungarian civic era, which showed little tolerance for public property and village district autonomy. They gave up the struggle, and the number of tizes districts that ended up as historical relics, or survived merely in the form of place names, had risen by the end of the 19th century. Some tizes districts in Alcsík and Gyergyó, however, took up the fight, transformed themselves, as owners of public property, into tizes commonages, taking over many of the tasks of the earlier communities, and endeavored to integrate themselves into the civic order in the form of tizes landowners. The tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva belonged among this latter group. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, all eight tizes districts in the two villages were transformed into tizes commonages. In this way, the protected forests were preserved and successfully survived the first half of the 20th century, a period defined by world wars and the changes in empire.

What the Hungarian, and subsequently the Romanian civic legislature and public administration had failed to achieve was solved in a few strokes of the pen by the Romanian dictatorship of the proletariat. In 1949, the Romanian state seized the centuries-old common property of the tizes districts, making the tizes commonages unfeasible. Ironically, the tizes commonages that had survived the ideological individualism of civic society were abolished by a social system that proclaimed itself to be socialist, and which ideologically advocated the realization of communal wealth and collective management. Rather than learning from the tizes districts about their methodology for the collective exploitation of common property, and from experience accumulated over centuries, the prophets of the new society imposed collective farming, following foreign models and ideologies invented behind a desk, which were alien to the Hungarians, Romanians, and Saxons alike.

During the decades of Socialism, the tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva were stripped of their former economic role. Among their earlier diverse functions, it was primarily the sacral tasks that remained, especially the maintenance of tizes churches, chapels, and cemeteries.

In the 1990s, following the change of regime in Romania, the tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva awoke from their peaceful slumber, in which they had been restricted to sacral activities. The former tizes membership lists were found. Assemblies were held. The tizes commonages elected a new leadership. Former tizes members and their successors made huge efforts to reclaim the tizes forests and pastures. Persistent local and parliamentary struggles proved successful.

Under Romanian Law No. 2000/1 (Bárth 2010), the village commonages, like the tizes commonages, were gradually able to reclaim their forests and pastures. Uniquely in Szekler Land, in addition to the two village commonages, the eight former tizes commonages were also reconstituted in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva. In October 2007, the Csíkszentgyörgy commonage comprised 3,635.12 ha of forest and pasture land, while the Bánkfalva commonage comprised 3,424.75 ha. The eight tizes districts of the two villages combined owned a total of 1,439.30 ha of forests and pastures. Following the successful recovery of the tizes lands, the economic activity and role of the tizes districts was revitalized and took on a distinctive character.

By the beginning of the 21st century, the tizes districts in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva remained unique in the Csík region. Because of their vitality, they have been transformed into living relics of the social organization, administrative history, ownership history, and settlement ethnography of the Szeklers' past.

References

  • Bárth, János 2007 Az eleven székely tizes. A csíkszentgyörgyi és a csíkbánkfalvi tizesek működése a XVII–XX. században [The Living Szekler Tizes. The Operation of the Tizes in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva in the 17th to 20th Centuries]. Kecskemét.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2008 Tizesjegyzőkönyvek a Székelyföldön [Tizes Minutes in Szekler Land]. In Fülemile, ÁgnesKiss, Réka (eds.) Történeti forrás − Néprajzi olvasat. Gazdaság-, társadalom- és egyháztörténeti források néprajzi értelmezésének lehetőségei, 150157. Budapest: L’ Harmattan − MTA Néprajzi Kutatóintézete.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2010 Székely közbirtokosságok a XX. század első felében [Szekler Commonages in the First Half of the 20th Century]. In Petercsák, Tivadar (ed.) Tradicionális agrárközösségek, mezőgazdasági szövetkezetek a Kárpát-medencében (19–21. század), 5163. Eger: Eszterházy Károly Főiskola.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2014 A székely tizes, a falurésznyi szomszédsági közösség [The Szekler Tizes, a Village District Neighborhood Community]. In Nagy, Janka Teodóra (ed.) Tanulmányok Tárkány Szücs Ernő születésének 90. évfordulója tiszteletére, 81100. Szekszárd: Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Illyés Gyula Kar.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2015 Utcakapitányok, fertálymesterek, tizesbírók [Street Captains, District Wardens, Tizes Magistrates] In Petercsák, TivadarVeres, GáborVerók, Attila (eds.) Tizedesek, utcakapitányok, fertálymesterek a Kárpát-medencében, 942. Eger: Liceum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2017 A székely esztenatársaságok írásbelisége [The Written Records of the Szekler Summer Pasture Companies]. In Jakab, Albert ZsoltVajda, András (eds.) Aranyhíd. Tanulmányok Keszeg Vilmos tiszteletére, 717731. Kolozsvár: Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duka, János 1978 Csíkszentlélek tizeseiről [On the Tizes Districts of Csíkszentlélek]. In Kós, KárolyFaragó, József (eds.) Népismereti Dolgozatok, 186194. Bukarest: Kriterion.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Egyed, Ákos 2006 A székelyek rövid története a megtelepedéstől 1918-ig [A Short History of the Szeklers from their Settling until 1918]. Csíkszereda: Pallas − Akadémia.

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    • Export Citation
  • Imreh, István 1983 A törvényhozó székely falu [The Legislative Szekler Village]. Bukarest: Kriterion.

János Bárth, ethnographer and historian was born on December 15, 1944, in Jánoshalma. His main areas of research include historical ethnography, settlement ethnography, social ethnography, and religious ethnography.

  • Bárth, János 2007 Az eleven székely tizes. A csíkszentgyörgyi és a csíkbánkfalvi tizesek működése a XVII–XX. században [The Living Szekler Tizes. The Operation of the Tizes in Csíkszentgyörgy and Csíkbánkfalva in the 17th to 20th Centuries]. Kecskemét.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2008 Tizesjegyzőkönyvek a Székelyföldön [Tizes Minutes in Szekler Land]. In Fülemile, ÁgnesKiss, Réka (eds.) Történeti forrás − Néprajzi olvasat. Gazdaság-, társadalom- és egyháztörténeti források néprajzi értelmezésének lehetőségei, 150157. Budapest: L’ Harmattan − MTA Néprajzi Kutatóintézete.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2010 Székely közbirtokosságok a XX. század első felében [Szekler Commonages in the First Half of the 20th Century]. In Petercsák, Tivadar (ed.) Tradicionális agrárközösségek, mezőgazdasági szövetkezetek a Kárpát-medencében (19–21. század), 5163. Eger: Eszterházy Károly Főiskola.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2014 A székely tizes, a falurésznyi szomszédsági közösség [The Szekler Tizes, a Village District Neighborhood Community]. In Nagy, Janka Teodóra (ed.) Tanulmányok Tárkány Szücs Ernő születésének 90. évfordulója tiszteletére, 81100. Szekszárd: Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Illyés Gyula Kar.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2015 Utcakapitányok, fertálymesterek, tizesbírók [Street Captains, District Wardens, Tizes Magistrates] In Petercsák, TivadarVeres, GáborVerók, Attila (eds.) Tizedesek, utcakapitányok, fertálymesterek a Kárpát-medencében, 942. Eger: Liceum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bárth, János 2017 A székely esztenatársaságok írásbelisége [The Written Records of the Szekler Summer Pasture Companies]. In Jakab, Albert ZsoltVajda, András (eds.) Aranyhíd. Tanulmányok Keszeg Vilmos tiszteletére, 717731. Kolozsvár: Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duka, János 1978 Csíkszentlélek tizeseiről [On the Tizes Districts of Csíkszentlélek]. In Kós, KárolyFaragó, József (eds.) Népismereti Dolgozatok, 186194. Bukarest: Kriterion.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Egyed, Ákos 2006 A székelyek rövid története a megtelepedéstől 1918-ig [A Short History of the Szeklers from their Settling until 1918]. Csíkszereda: Pallas − Akadémia.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Imreh, István 1983 A törvényhozó székely falu [The Legislative Szekler Village]. Bukarest: Kriterion.

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Editor-in-Chief: Ágnes FÜLEMILE
Associate editors: Fruzsina CSEH;
Zsuzsanna CSELÉNYI

Review Editors: Csaba MÉSZÁROS; Katalin VARGHA

Editorial Board
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  • Elek BARTHA (University of Debrecen)
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  • Miklós CSERI (Hungarian Open Air Museum, the Skanzen of Szentendre)
  • Lajos KEMECSI (Museum of Ethnography)
  • László KÓSA (Eötvös University, Budapest)
  • lldikó LANDGRAF (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities)
  • Tamás MOHAY (Eötvös University, Budapest)
  • László MÓD (University of Szeged)
  • Attila PALÁDI-KOVÁCS (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities and Eötvös University, Budapest)
  • Gábor VARGYAS (Institute of Ethnology, Research Centre for the Humanities and University of Pécs)
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2022  
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Cultural Studies (Q4)
Demography (Q4)
Music (Q4)

Scopus  
Scopus
Cite Score
0.3
Scopus
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Music 101/167 (39th PCTL)
Cultural Studies 795/1203 (33rd PCTL)
Demography 117/135 (13th PCTL)
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Demography 117/135 (13th PCTL)

2021  
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not indexed

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without
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5 Year
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Scimago  
Scimago
H-index
7
Scimago
Journal Rank
0,1
Scimago Quartile Score Cultural Studies (Q4)
Demography (Q4)
Music (Q4)
Scopus  
Scopus
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0,3
Scopus
CIte Score Rank
Music 77/153 (Q3)
Cultural Studies 630/1127 (Q3)
Demography 103/124 (Q4)
Scopus
SNIP
0,000

2020  
Scimago
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6
Scimago
Journal Rank
0,127
Scimago
Quartile Score
Cultural Studies Q3
Demography Q4
Music Q2
Scopus
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29/78=0,4
Scopus
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Cultural Studies 482/1037 (Q2)
Demography 83/109 (Q4)
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Scopus
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0,216
Scopus
Cites
39
Scopus
Documents
21
Days from submission to acceptance 29
Days from acceptance to publication 236

 

2019  
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H-index
5
Scimago
Journal Rank
0,142
Scimago
Quartile Score
Cultural Studies Q2
Demography Q4
Music Q2
Scopus
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Scopus
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Cultural Studies 508/1002 (Q3)
Demography 83/104 (Q4)
Music 60/142 (Q2)
Scopus
SNIP
0,568
Scopus
Cites
28
Scopus
Documents
28

 

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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
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