István Kovács (historian)


January 27, 2022

István Kovács of Nagyajtai (Nagyajta, May 3, 1799 - Cluj-Napoca, January 14, 1872) is a historian and lawyer and a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He pioneered the exploration and publication of detailed, regular and resource-critical sources on the past of the Principality of Transylvania and Szeklers.

Life Path

He was born into a unitary Szekler border guard family. After graduating from the Unitarian school in Nagyajtai, he spent his school years at the Unitarian grammar school in Szeklerland and at the military education institute in Brașov. After that, from 1817 he first studied at the Unitarian College in Cluj-Napoca, and from 1821 he studied law at the Piarist Lyceum of the city. After completing his studies, in 1823 he became an official of the General Council of Transylvania, first in the position of honorary clerk, and from 1842 in the position of registrar. After making Hungarian the state language, he participated in the official correspondence committee of the General Government from 1847. In 1849, Bertalan Szemere asked him to be a department councilor in the Ministry of the Interior, but Kovács refused to be appointed. From July to August 1849 he was a judge of the National Supreme Court in Cluj-Napoca. He continued to serve as a criminal court judge after 1850, and from 1852 he was the court counsel of the Bistrița district, from 1857 he was the court counsel of the gentleman, from 1861 he was the head of the board, from 1862 he was the director of public affairs, and from 1863 he was the first head of the Transylvanian court. From 1865 until his retirement in 1867, he held the title of Chief Judge of Transylvania.

Your work

In addition to his legal career, he worked in Transylvania and the Szeklers from his youth, mainly in the 16th and 17th centuries. and the medieval and modern history of the Transylvanian nationalities (Hungarians, Szeklers, Romanians, Saxons, Pechenegs, etc.). He conducted extensive library and archival research, in which, in addition to mapping the historical literature of previous ages, he collected several diplomas, manuscript chronicles, annals, correspondence, and diaries. His theoretical work is also significant; His historical articles have been published in the journals of the National Socialist and Transylvanian News, edited with the help of him. He and József Kemény published several historical sources (1837–1845) in excerpts. In the early 1850s, he did much to develop the Transylvanian archives, and under his direction, the legislation of the Transylvanian county and city archives was assessed and organized. He took a plane to protect the historical monuments and buildings of Cluj-Napoca, and was one of the initiators and supporters of the Transylvanian Museum, which was finally founded in 1856. His library, collection of ancient forms and manuscripts, and correspondence became the property of the Unitarian College of Cluj-Napoca after his death. Memberships and recognitions In 1845 he was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Society of Scientists, and from 1867 he was a founding member of the Hungarian Historical Society.

His main works

An indicator table of the minutes of the national meeting of the Grand Duchy of Transylvania held in Cluj-Napoca in 1810 and 1811. Cluj-Napoca: (without publisher). 1833 Repository of the “stories” of Transylvania: From historical histories, letters, parliamentary orders and legal articles written in contemporary Hungarian. Cluj-Napoca: Barra. 1837–1845. (With József Kemény) In the case of the Hungarian National Museum in Transylvania. Kolo

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