Ország de Gút

Ország de Gút initial

(Guti, Guthy) descended from the ancient Gutkeled kindred

The Legend of Mihaly Orszag Meeting King Sigismund

“King Zsigmond (Sigismund) was returning to Hungary. As he stepped in Hungarian territory, he met a company of some children playing soldiers. One of them was holding a flag. Zsigmond asked him whose soldiers they were. The boy answered they were the country's soldiers. The King asked if they would be the king's soldiers if he was their king. The child replied: "Yes, we would!"  The king liked the answer, and when this boy grew up, he was given the name Országh (- Country in English) and he was the founder of the family Országh.”

King Sigismund and Mihaly Orszagh

King Sigmond did more than that. He summoned Mihaly to his court and made him a royal squire. Mihaly moved up the ranks quickly becoming the Court Chamberlain in 1433. In that same year he accompanied the king to Rome where the pope crowned Sigismund as Holy Roman Emperor. He was still a young man in his 20s when he became the Royal Treasurer in1436.

Although the Guthy family was prestigious in terms of lineage, by Mihaly's time they had become impoverished members of the lesser nobility. He raised the family up to the highest level of the aristocracy, to barons of the realm who were addressed with the prefix 'magnificus.'   

Although he excelled in political spheres Mihaly was also a knight with strong military abilities as well. 

He fought with John Hunyady on the winning side of the civil war that followed the death of King Sigmond at the end of 1437. In 1445 Mihaly became one of the seven Captains of the Realm elected to govern the kingdom until the heir to the throne, Ladislaus II, who was not only a child but also held captive in Austria by Frederick III , could be crowned king. The seven captains in turn elected John Hunyady, who had become a national hero for his successful battles against the Turks, as Captain General of the Realm. 

Mihaly was serving as commander of Belgrade Castle when the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Mehmed, in an attempt to invade Hungary, attacked the fortress with a force of 80,000- 100,000 soldiers. All Europe awaited the outcome anxiously. Mihaly only had about 2,000 men to defend the fortress. Luckily he was joined by his old friend, John Hunyady and his army of 20,000 men, half of them armed peasants and tradesmen rallied by a crusade preaching Franciscan monk. Together they managed not only to defend Belgrade but they pulled off a miraculous victory, routing the Turks and chasing them out of the kingdom. Pope Callixtus III ordered all of Christendom to pray for the defenders of Belgrade and that all the church bells in Europe ring out at noon in thier honor, a tradition that lasts to this day. John Hunyady died in the aftermath of the battle. No doubt, Mihaly was by his side.

- Eve Hars

  • Országh family (Gúthi) coat of arms
  • Belgrade Fortress, Serbia (photo mikestuartwood). The fort was once the southern stronghold of the Hungarian Kingdom.

Illuminated Chronicle

″But afterwards, during the reign of King Peter, Kelad and Gút brothers of Swabian descent immigrated. They were born at the castle in Stof." - Illuminated Chronicle

  • Chronicon Pictum

House of Zähringen

The Zähringen Dynasty of the Castle Stauf ruled Swabia until around 1100.

The castle was built around the year 850 on the edge of the Black Forest -hence the pine tree image on the brothers' shields.

  • Aerial photo of Burg Staufen, Staufen, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Baden-Württemberg. (photo www.webbaviation.de)

Šurany Castle of Guthy Family

Gút is a village in Zala County near Székesfehérvár. The earliest record of it is from 1312 when it was in the possession the Guth family who, in 1328, traded the estate for Surany located in Nitra County in Upper Hungary (present day Slovakia).

  • Castle of Nagysurány in the 15th-16th century

Guthi Orszag coat of arms

The Guthi Orszag coat of arms is derived from the Gutkeled crest. Many noble famsilies of Hungary  descend from the Gutkeled kindred including the Bathory who have this coat-of-arms.

  • Gutkeled coat of arms
  • Gúthi - Országh coat of arms

Mihaly Orszag

Mihaly Orszag is one of the few direct ancestors of this era whose image has been preserved-  statues of members of King Sigismund's court were found in 1974 by archaeologist László Zolnay in the ruins of the palace of King Sigismund that had been discovered under Buda Castle. 

"The young optimistic looking person wearing a felt hat is identified as King Sigismund’s young Treasurer-in-Chief by folio 103. Therefore he can be only Michael Ország de Gwth from the clan Gut-Keled." - Eugene Csocsán de Várallja (THE HUNGARIAN MONARCHY AND THE EUROPEAN RENAISSANCE Chapter I. The Statues of Buda Castle (2005))

  • From the book The Buda Castle gothic statues, Corvina, 12976
  • Buda Castle (photo Vined)

The Chronicle of the Hungarians

During the reign of King Matthias, a clerk in the royal palace, Janos Thuroczy, decided to write a chronicle of the history of the kingdom during King Sigismund's reign. One of his main sources of information was from interviews and conversations with Palatine Orszag 

Mihaly Orszag witnessed and participted in much of the history the chronicle covers.  So in a sense we have a record of our ancestor's words as well as an image of what he looked like. Thus we know more about this ancestor than we do about any others besides the Podmaniczkys.

Lazslo Podmaniczky married Mihaly Orszag's daughter, Ilona in 1474. Laszlo and Ilona are our direct ancestors back 17 generations which makes Mihaly Orszag and his wife, Barbara Rozgony, our direct ancestor x18. generations

  • János Thuróczy: The Chronicle of the Hungarians (book cover, Kossuth, 1978)
  • "The Chronicle of the Hungarians" by Thuroczy was published in 1488 as an illuminatd manuscript. The illustration on the opening pages.
  • The prologue to "The Chronicle of the Hungarians" by Thuroczy in which he acknowledges Mihaly Orszag with much praise as his prime source

Summary of Mihaly's illustrious career

  • Career of Mihaly Orszagh

Mihaly Orszagh relation to you

  • Mihaly Orszagh relation to you

Orszagh and the Podmaniczky family

According to this genealogy chart, two of Mihaly Orszag's daughters married into the Podmaniczky family: Laszlo married Ilona and Laszlo's son, Janos, married Ilona's sister, Bora.

  • Genealogy chart of Gaspar Guthy

Castles: Cachtice (Csejte) Castle ruins

In present day Slovakia. Pledged to Mihaly Orszag by King Matthias in 1466. It became the Orszag family seat and remained in their possession for a century until the family name died out in 1567. The ruin draws many tourists for its later connection to the infamous murderess (although it is just a legend), Countess Bathory.

  • Csejte Castle now
  • What Csejte Castle looked like back then

Castles: Jókő Castle

Jókő Castle given to Mihaly Orzsag in 1436 by King Sigismund.

  • Jókő Castle now
  • Jókő Castle (Elemér Varjú: Hungarian Castles, 1932)

Castles: Hollókő Castle

The castle is in Nograd County in present day Hungary. Pledged to the Guthi Orszags by King Ladislas in 1454.

  • Hollókő Castle (www.hollokoivar.hu)
  • Hollókő Castle in the 14th century (www.varlexikon.hu)

Castles: Solymos Castle

King Vladislav I donated it to the Ország family (1440-1444). In present day Romania.

  • Solymos Castle now
  • Solymos Castle (drawing by Aurél Eisenkolb, 19th century)

Castles: Sirok Castle

In Heves County, Hungary. Pledged to the Mihaly by King Matthias. Renovated and updated in 1561 by Mihaly's great grandson, Kristof, a favorite of King Ferdinand Habsburg, despite his conversion to Calvinism. Kristof, who was well educated and spoke several languages,  became the Count of Norgrad. He was a popular and heroic milatry figure in Hungary. He died in 1567 at the young age of 32 and was much mourned by his wife, Ilona Zrinyi and the country.

A memorial plaque over a red marble gate once read: 

MAGNIFICUS DOMINUS CRISTOPHORUS ORZAGH DE GUTH CU.NEUGRAD. AC. S. CAES. MTTIS PINCERNA. 1561st

  • Sirok Castle now (photo Balázs Papdi)
  • Sirok Castle theoretical reconstruction by Tamás Ferenc

Interesting Facts

The Lost Kingdom

Nowadays Hungary is a small country we don't hear too much about but throughout the Middle Ages it was the largest cohesive political entitity in Europe. The Kingdom of Hungary existed as an independent realm for over five hundred years from 1000 A.D. to 1526 during which time it was considered one of most powerful countries in western civilization. It included territories of what are now Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Transylvania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, as well as parts of Austria, Poland and the Ukraine. Yet, history only seems to remember it in its relationship to Austria- first as part of the Habsburg Empire and later as half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The families whose legends and I present on this site are part of the rich and unbelievably dramatic history the the Hungarian Kingdom that was driven externally by the threat of the Holy Roman and the Ottoman Empires and internally by a constant tension between the monarchs and the powerful barons. This caused a series of battles of succession that, I have to say, kind of make the War of the Roses look like a picnic in the park.

About the Nobility of Hungary

Like most kingdoms in medieval times, Hungary was divided into two main classes, nobles and commoners. But within these groups were further distinctions. The nobility was divided into the categories of "higher" and "lesser." The high nobility were the magnates, families that owned in the area of thirty or more estates that probably included a castle or several castles. They lesser were all the rest ranging from those those that owned twenty estates to those who owned only one impoverished estate to those who owned no estates at all but nevertheless had a coat-of-arms.
There were many noble who had less than well-off peasants.

Some had titles that translate as follows.

The head of the county: comes or ispan = count
Deputy head of county: alispan = viscount
Governor of a territory or sub-nation: ban, voivode = duke, earl, prince (e.g. Ban of Croatia, Voivode of Transylvania)

What made these titles different from their English counterparts was that generally until the 1500s they were NOT HEREDITARY. They only applied to the people during the time they held the office and the rank did not pass on to their children. The king could remove them from their positions and appoint someone else. There wasn't much job security. Patents of nobility and the accompanying coats of arms were hereditary. Nobility could pass on the father's side and the mother's side but property could only be inherited by sons, while the inheritance of daughters was the equivalent of 1/4 of the property's worth in currency.

Interestingly noble women kept their maiden names after they were married while their children took the husbands name.

Barons v. Barons of the Realm

Baron was an informal designation for wealthy lords who owned a large amout of property usually including a castle. All the lords with estates and villages attached by the charter to a particular castle were the baron's banderium, or bannermen. They pledge loyalty to the baron and were under obligation to respond to his call to arms with one "lance" (meaning heavily armored knight) or several archers for every 10- 20 serfs they had, depending on the ratio stipulated at the time.

Barons of the realm were those members of the nobility who held the highest offices in government and in the royal household were usually either descended from the original clans of the Hungarian tribes that settled in the Carpethian Basin in the late ninth century or from the foreign knights that came to the kingdom with their own small armies to provide military support to the Hungarian kings in the 11th and 12th centuries. Originally They were called barones regni, barons of the realm, a status originally only held by the office holder while he was in office but by the late 1300s it also to applied to the descendants of the high office holders. They became known as the magnates and were given the prefix of 'magificus' in documents.

The 19 Families

In the late 1400s, nineteen families were distinguished from the rest of the barons of the realm by King Matthias. They were now called the natural barons of the realm (barones regni natureles). The list included the Orszag, Rozgony, and Hedervary families.

Barons of the Realm

Holders of the highest offices in the Kingdom of Hungary:

  • Palatine
  • Royal Judge
  • Bans of Croatia, Severin & Slavonia
  • Voivode of Transylvania
  • Master of the Treasury
  • Master of the Horse
  • Master of the Cupbearers
  • Master of the Stewards
  • Master of the Doorkeepers
  • Ispan of the Counties Pozsony & Temes