Bač, Bač Fortress, Charles Robert of Anjou (1301-1342), Bačka in the 14th century
In this paper the author attempted to give a contribution to the question of ownership over Bač fortress in the middle of the first half of the 14th century. Due to its strategic importance on the Danubian route and border, Bač was one of the most important fortifications in Southern Pannonia since the early Middle Ages. There is a well established view in historiography that Bač along with its fortress belonged to the Episcope of Bač, and thus to the archbishop of Kalocsa-Bač. Still, due to the lack of sources and the longevity of the period (12th - 16th cent.), the question of the status of Bač fortress is very complex. The author draws attention to the fact that according to a charter issued on April 21, 1328, that is its rescript of November 2, 1335, Hungarian ruler Charles Robert of Anjou (1301-1342) spoke of Bač as his fortress. The document in question is a donation which the ruler issued to the Duke of Transylvania Tamas Szechenyi in relation to two landholdings “Kethlugas” in Bač County. The first of the donated properties was - “the land of our (royal) Bač fortress” (unam terram castri nostri Bachiensis), while the other “(Keth)lugas” was a vacant property of a certain Peter, a professional participant in court duels, who died without (male) heirs. Tamas Szechenyi de facto acquired these two properties earlier, that is at the time when he was the county prefect of Bač (1318-1321), which can be connected to the assumption that Bač was even then a royal property. The status of a royal fortress Bač did not only hold in 1328, but probably in 1335, as well as between 1318 and 1321. That was the time during which the imposing Bač fortress was built by a French or some other western architectural model, commissioned by Charles Robert, as once stated by Imre Henszlmann. Since the second decade of the 14th century the District of Bač was governed by magnates and associates closest to the King, such as the future Transylvanian duke Tamas Szechenyi, royal magistrate of innkeepers Demeter Nekczei and palatine Jean Drugeth. It has not been excluded that during their mandate the building of new Bač fortress had been initiated. The royal status of Bač fortress in 1328 does not rule out the possibility that Bač and its fortress were simultaneously the residence of another King’s baron, his chancellor, the archbishop of Kalocsa.