86. szám // 2021. Mobilitás a rendi társadalomban
H. Nemeth István
Permeability in the Society of the Estate System: Burghers and Nobles at the Helm of Cities
One of the characteristics of early modern society is that the categories of theestate system were more permeable than those in the late Middle Ages. The me-dieval urban network was transformed after the Ottoman conquests, and someof the former trading centres (Kassa/Košice, Nagyszombat/Trnava, Pozsony/Bra-tislava, and Győr) took the place of the captured cities of Buda, Pest, and Szeged.The country-wide military operations also brought about a significant move-ment of population: the inhabitants formerly living in Ottoman-conquered cit-ies fled to new urban centers and the predominance of German burghers wasdiluted with Hungarians and noblemen. Cities began to allow newly establishedmilitary and administrative headquarters to settle within their walls, and whilethe nobles working in administration became accustomed to the urban setting,the local burghers found new career opportunities in these offices. Burghers inadministration became the first representatives of theBildungsbürgertumedu-cated in Western Europe, primarily in German-speaking territories, and theirstate employment provided opportunities to prove themselves and attain nobil-ity. Enacted in the last decades of the seventeenth century, the state’s new urbanpolicy placed leadership in the hands of new, educated, Catholic employees whowere well versed in public administration and economy and were partially legiti-mized by the state. This new elite was closely affiliated with state administrationand was soon largely comprised of civil servants rather than elected representa-tives. Made up of both noble-born civil servants and newly ennobled burghers,this municipal elite of a rather heterogeneous estate identity soon emerged as anew stratum of society.