Golden Bull of 1222

The Golden Bull of 1222


On the picture the obverse of a gold seal (golden bull) is depicted which served to ratify the diploma published by Andrew II, King of Hungary (1205-1235). The king is pictured on a throne, holding a fleur-de-lis sceptre in his right hand and an orb with a cross on top in his left hand. The Sun is shown to the right of the fleur-de-lis crowned head of the king and the half-moon with a star to the left. The text of the legend reads: + ANDREAS D(e)I GR(aci)A VNG(ar)IE DALM(acie) Ch(r)OAC(ie) RAME S(er)VIE GALIC(ie) LODOMERIE Q(ue) REX.

The diploma issued in 1222 by the King under pressure from the aristocracy and the serviens regis and named the Golden Bull (Aranybulla, Bulla Aurea) stands pre-eminent among other diplomas of a similar ilk. Like the English subjects who obtained privileges through the Magna Charta Libertatum sealed by John Lackland, King of England, in 1215, the subjects of the Hungarian monarch acquired privileges and demanded that the King commit his promises in writing. Thus the subjects were able to refer to the King’s promises for generations. The Golden Bull is the document of this agreement and exists as one of the earliest sources of Hungarian constitutionalism and is considered as the first written constitution of Hungary. It simbolizes the unity of the noblemen, the limitation of the power of the king and the recognition of liberties. The Bull guarateed also that no one could be arrested without verdict. It regulated the activity of royal dignities and their competence. The Bull prohibited the abuse of the power. At the end of the Bull the so called ”clause of resistence” guaranteed for the members of the Council of the King to act against the King in case he did not observe the dispositions of the Bull.

The Golden Bull of Hungary deserves to be mentioned amongst the first letters of freedom of Europe, as a medieval prefiguration of social contracts.