Articuli Podmanickyani

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Articuli Podmanickyani
Created 2. January 1506
Location Považská Bystrica
Author(s) Ján Podmanitzky

Articuli Podmanickyani is a document issued by bishop of Nitra and Zagreb, advisor of king Vladislas II and landlord of Považský hrad Jan Podmanitzky. It was document officially stating relationship between landlord and villains in medieval Slovakia town. While establishing ‘’new’’ orders, document indirectly shows conditions of accustomed life before Articuli. Another important feature of the document is that shortly afterwards Jan Podmanitzky published it in Latin; he also translated it to Slovak, what was in those times very rare.


  1. It is appointed that all the arable lands of the town should be divided into 52 povrazec (Latin: funis, medieval measure unit, it equals 30 cm, in modern square measures such piece of land would have area of 15-30 ha), and not more. In the town there should be 52 houses lived by more august commons, among those 52 povrazec of land should be divided.

The row of these houses permitted to own land started from the house of blacksmith Pavol Masak, on Hlinik Street, at that time. From the opposite site of the brook Bystrica, it was bounded by Petrik’s house. Then it continued on the different side from merchant Baltazar’s, which was near the street, which led to haj nearby forest embanked Skala’s house, then it curved around bath up to the river. Next segment of land was between Kral’s and Uhlik’s house. That was it 52 houses with surrounding lands, to each one povrazec was assigned.
Landlord cannot in any case take land belonging to these houses. If anyone is willing to sell his house, among the residents of these houses, the house must be sold with land and with suitable prize. If the one who want to sell the house and the buyer cannot agree on prize, mayor or town’s assembly should decide on prize.

  1. Mayor and burgesses should be voted from these 52 houses.
  2. Because also in the past tax was paid from 52 houses (povrazov), also from now it will be paid from 52 houses.
  3. That there will be a mayor and burgesses who will govern the community with their own conscience and belief and not the community who will govern them.
  4. If anyone wants to build a house, either from those 52 houses, or from those settle on lands. The ones having the land should bring those who want to build suitable wood for construction, and ones living in gardens should for it help with building.

Building should be allowed to everyone.

  1. No one else that those 52 have the right to pull beer, and sell wine. There is only one vinery, with exception of annual market.

Selling of the wine is passed from one to other. If anyone wants to start selling wine, mayor with assembly should be called, so that that could decide on the prize of the product, and everyone who will sell the product will save quarter zlaty ( medieval currency in that time) for the town’s budget. If there is anyone poor, who cannot sell wine, his annual right might be sold for quarter zlaty.

  1. No one from the mentioned ones can sell and brew beer. Always at most five commons can sell beer at one time, with exception of annual market.

In time of market, and time two weeks before and afterwards, every commoner have the right to sell wine and beer. Selling of beer, as selling of wine is passed from one to another. If any commoner had brewed beer, during the inspection by mayor and burgesses would decide on an amount of malt spent for manufacture for one zlaty and according to this an amount of first class beer, for which one zlaty is paid is set, so that the one who brewed the beer will have his money back. For the selling of first class beer one quarter of zlaty goes to town. Second class beer should be sold for lesser prize, lowest quality beer can have brewer for one’s own purposes. Anytime one boils beer, two water cans should be brought to teachers at school. If anyone cannot brew beer, the right of order might be sold for quarter zlaty. No one can sell either wine or beer on loan.

  1. When butcher kills livestock, mayor and two members of burgesses should assure that it will be killed and processed according to the rules of this craft.

After it is killed, the intestines must be taken out and the skin taken of. It should be divided from its head and legs. Only after this it can be put to measure the weight. When the prize for one Libra is decided, mayor and assembly members have the right to take the intestines. Tongue should be left for children in school. If someone does not want to give tongue, meat for the prize of it must be given to school.

  1. No one can borrow money from town’s budget; neither the money can be spent by burgesses. Money should be each year accumulated so that town has every time some money left, because one sixth of this money goes to people that the town should honor. (Noble man, landlord).

If those who have the right to manage the town’s money will spend more than one sixth of the budget, they should be deprived of confidence and dignity. They should be also physically punished as thieves.
If anyone wants to invest some money of the town’s budget, mayor should agree, but with good guarantee and condition, that money will return in year, with something from the income.
Everything must be settled openly under the supervision mayor and burgesses.

  1. No one can play dice from commons and burgesses, with exception of landlord’s servants, and nobles billeted in the town.
  2. Bather, who knew how to do bloodletting (Physicians in the Middle Ages believed that most human illnesses were the result of excess fluid in the body (called humour). The cure was removing excess fluid by taking large amounts of blood out of the body. Two of the main methods of bloodletting were leeching and venesection .), has to pay annual tax of one zlaty for baths.
    For one bloodletting he was to be given four denar ( zlaty had 100 denars), for one venesection (direct opening of vein) he should be given one Vienna denar, for one bathing one denar, and for bathing of woman one obulus.

Each family living in the town has to give one cart-load of logs. Afterwards they would gain free access to bath for whole year. If anything will get damaged in the bath, town would pay for restoration.

  1. Each person living in the town, have to help for four days a year with hardening of the bank of the river Vah, so that it would cause floods in the town.
  2. It is appointed that none of the citizens take appeal to the court in Krupina (in Krupina there was a court to which anyone from inhabitants of either Bystrica or Zilina could take appeal), with exception of death penalties and cases connected with persons dignity. Also no one should take appeal if his case was not decided yet in the county with supervision of landlord.
  3. No one who lives on the field has to pay tax.
  4. Anyone can bake bread, with condition that dough would have the same weight adequate for one denar.
  5. Because anyone in Zilina or in Rajec has the right to build frame for sprawling of the cloth. Also inhabitants of Bystrica have the right to build it anywhere where it seems convenient to them.
  6. Street of clothers should be the one near the church. Residence of blacksmiths should be on the street leading from Moštenec, bootmakers should gather on street leading from Hlinik. Because Bystrica has the same rights as Zilina and Rajec, clothers and the others may be grouped into guilds.
  7. Ones living on fields (lat. Inquilinus) have to be able to serve the landlord for three days a year.
  8. On the opposite side of the river no one can catch rabbits or birds.
  9. People living in the town are allowed to catch fish with nets called sak and veter.
  10. Ones who live in Bystrica do not have to pay taxes to their landlord, with exception of those who transport wine to Bytča and Žilina. In time of market no one pays any tax.
  11. “King’s lunch” which the commoners had to give to landlord, is no longer inevitable to be given to landlord.
  12. Manor Hrbotin is in possession of the town.
  13. People from Bystrica from now on do not have to plough and do some other works for the castle, with exception of stacking wine bottles in the castle, mowing of meadows in Zakvasov, and works on repairing of the bridge.
  14. Ones living on the field should give only 10 denars, and nothing else to the town annually.

Landlord of Povazska Bystrica has adopted the document and inhabitants of Bystrica have committed to keep these rules precisely. As thanks to their landlord, that he has settled the rules so clearly, inhabitants have committed to give annually to the landlord and his heirs 100 zlaty, 100 gbel (gbel is a medieval measure unit, 1gbel = 84 litres) and 50 death roosters. Ones living on fields have to give two dead roosters. If anyone would not respect these rules, especially those concerning wine and beer, person should be deprived of dignity and cannot become the member of burgesses. If anyone would break other rules, person has to pay half zlaty from which a half goes to landlord and a half to church.