Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/368

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therefore assume that at the end of the fifteenth it had reached about 800,000. Venetian diplomatic agents were, it is true, repeatedly assured by the Magyars of the time of Wladislav (1490-1516) that Hungary could muster an army of no less than 200,000 men. This assurance, however, cannot be taken as a basis for serious computations of the population, and undoubtedly possesses patriotic and political interest rather than any statistical value. Hungary was then, as it is now, the meeting-ground of a very large number of nationalities. The towns were mostly inhabited by Germans who, as a rule, could not even speak the language of their masters. The mountainous regions in the north were thinly inhabited by Slav peoples, those in the south-east by Romance-speaking Rumanians, by Dalmatians, Servians, Armenians, Cumanians, etc. All social and political prestige and power was with the Magyars-or, to speak more correctly, with the Magyar noblemen.

The political structure of either country was likewise analogous to that of the other. In both, the aristocracy was the paramount element, endowed with chartered or traditional privileges, to the practical exclusion from political power of certain classes of citizens endowed with rights in the modern sense of the term. In Hungary the ruling Order was, in general terms, the nobility. It consisted of the great prelates of the Church (Domini Praglati, J'SpapoTc), the magnates (Barones et Magnates, zaszlosurak es orszagnagyok) and the common gentry (nobiles, nemesek). To these three classes of personal nobles were, since 1405, added the corporate nobles of the free royal towns (szabad Mralyi varosole), which as corporations enjoyed some of the rights of Hungarian nobility. Of the prelates, the first in dignity and power was the Archbishop of Esztergom (in German, Gran) who was the Primate of Hungary, the legatus natus of the Pope, and the Chancellor of the King; next to him ranked the Bishops of Eger, of Veszprem, of Agram, of Transylvania, and the Abbot of Pannonhalma, in the county of Gyor (Germanice: Raab). The magnates were not, with just two exceptions (the Eszterhazys and the Erd6dys), distinguished from the common gentry in the way of title;—for such titles as "Baron," "Count" or "Prince" were first introduced into Hungary by the Habsburgs, after 1526. They consisted of noblemen who were either very wealthy, or incumbents of one of the great national offices of the country. In perfect keeping with the medieval character of the entire social and political structure of Hungary, these great offices implied immense personal privileges rather than constituting their bearers definite organs of an impersonal State. The highest office was that of the Count Palatine (Regni Palatinus, nddor), the King's legal representative, and when he was a minor his legal guardian; judge and umpire on differences between King and nation; Captain-general of the country, and Keeper of the King's records. After the Count Palatine followed the Jvdex Cnrlae