Hunyadi family

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The front view of the Hunyad Castle

The Hunyadi family (also Hunyady in historical sources) was a Hungarian[1] noble family strongest in the Late Middle Ages. According to the majority of sources they were of Wallachian (Romanian) ancestry.[2][3] This is claimed by medieval authors,[4][5] and by many modern historians,[6][7][8][9] however there are also theories about Cuman[10] or Slavic ancestries.

The first recorded member of the family was Serbe (also called Serb, Serban or Sorb), most likely from Wallachia, who settled in Hunyad county in Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary. The name Serbe might be of Turkic or Slavic origin because there are researches suggesting Tatar-Cuman[11][12][13][14][15] or Slavic[16][17][18] descendance. His son Vojk (alternatively spelled as Voyk or Vajk in English, Voicu in Romanian, Vajk in Hungarian), adopted the name László and practiced Catholicism (a common practice among Romanian cnezes from Transylvania;[19] from the Angevin Dynasty on, Hungarian nobles were barred from practicing Orthodoxy).[20] Vajk was the second known in the Hunyady family to be a Roman Catholic. He was ennobled in 1409 and received the estate of Hunyad Castle (now Hunedoara in Romania, then Hunyadvár, now Vajdahunyad in Hungarian) which was to become the hereditary seat of the family. Many Hungarian noble families had Vlach (Romanian) ancestry[citation needed] and intermarriage between the two did not even become controversial until after the Ottoman wars.

The royal donation had elevated the Hunyadi family to the top ranks of the lesser (nonbaronial) group of Hungarian nobility. Proprietors of a domain containing 40 villages, they were considered as well-to-do as but ranked far below the great magnates who formed the king’s council and exercised the real power in the country.

Origin of the name Corvin[edit]

Personal Coat of arms – note the raven depicted on the escutcheon, the origin of the name Corvinus

The origins of the name Corvin are still unclear. There exist a number of theories on the etymology of the Corvin name. The most widely accepted theory is that Corvin refers to the Corvus which appears on their coat of arms, however a connection to the Kovin/(Kubin, Keve in Hungarian; Covinum in Latin) town – "in Corvino vico, as Bonfini wrote" – is also possible.

The origins of the Coat of Arms of the Hunyadi family, which depicts a raven holding a golden ring in its beak, are unclear. The Silesian Annals state that when a raven carried off a ring King Matthias had removed from his finger, Matthias chased the bird down and slew him, retrieving the ring, and in commemoration of this event he took the raven as a symbol for his signet sign.

Others think that the Coat of Arms was derived from another property of the family, Raven’s Rock (Hollókő in Hungarian). Another legend says that when young Matthias was in prison in Prague his mother was able to send him a letter with a raven (that is why the Hungarian Postal Service had a raven as its symbol for more than a century).

Hunyadi family tree[edit]

Matthias Corvin
Woyk de Hunyad[21]
Magos [22]
John, Governor
John, Jr.
Ladislaus (László)
John Corvinus

Hunyadi battleship[edit]

The second battleship of the Ersatz Monarch class of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (officially known as Schiff IX) was to be named Hunyadi. The ship was never completed due to the outbreak of World War One which interrupted all major warship construction in Austria-Hungary.

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica
  3. ^ [1] Ronald D. Bachman, ed. Romania: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989.
  4. ^ Enea Silvius Piccolomini, (Pope Pius II), In Europa - Historia Austrialis, BAV, URB, LAT. 405, ff.245, IIII kal. Aprilis MCCCCLVIII, Ex Urbe Roma
  5. ^ A. Bonifi, Decad. III, lib. 4, ed. cit., p. 448; vezi şi Decad. III, lib. 9, ed. cit., p. 538
  6. ^ [2] The Catholic Encyclopedia
  7. ^ [3] A History of Hungary Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, Tibor Frank - History - 1994
  8. ^ Babinger, Franz. et al. Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time. Princeton University Press. 2nd Edition. 1992. p. 20.
  9. ^ Engel, Pal. Realm of St. Stephen : A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526. London, , GBR: I. B. Tauris & Company, Limited, 2001. p xii.
  10. ^ Mór Bán, Hunyadi. Genealogia familiei Hunyadi, Editura Gold Book, 2010. ISBN 978-963-426-182-7. p. 394[better source needed]
  11. ^ Katolikus Lexikon: Hunyadi János, A M. Nemz. Tört. IV. Bp., 1896. - Elekes 1952. - Teke 1980. - Puskely 1994:279.(Hungarian)
  12. ^ Acta orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 36, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, 1982 p. 425-427, Cited:'Recalling what has been said above concerning the Turkic name Bayq, we may rightly come to the conclusion that the name of Janos Hunyadi's father, Vayk was of Tatar-Cuman origin.', 'Vayk's family, which was of Tatar-Cuman origin', 'The Damga (Turkic/Raven) must have been the mark of Vayk's clan'
  13. ^ Magyar Nyelvtudományi Társaság (SOCIETY OF HUNGARIAN LINGUISTICS), Magyar nyelv, Volume 79, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1983, p.113
  14. ^ László Rásonyi, Yusuf Gedikli, Doğu Avrupada Türklük, Selenge, 2006, p. 112
  15. ^ Yılmaz Öztuna, Devletler ve hânedanlar, Volume 2, Kültür Bakanlığı, 2005, p. 116
  16. ^ Molnar, Miklos: A Concise History of Hungary. P. 61
  17. ^ Frucht, Richard C. (2005). Eastern Europe: an introduction to the people, lands, and culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 339. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6. 
  18. ^ Lendvai, Paul (2003). The Hungarians: a thousand years of victory in defeat. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-85065-682-1. 
  19. ^ [4] History of Transylvania, by the Institute Of History Of The Hungarian Academy Of Sciences
  20. ^ Centraleuropas historia (The History of Central Europe) Kristian Gerner, Natur & Kultur , Stockholm 1997, page 370
  21. ^ [5]
  22. ^ Ethnic Magyar (Hungarian) name
  23. ^ Ethnic Romanian name
  24. ^ Ethnic Magyar (Hungarian) name
  25. ^