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The book provides an overview of the floods and major hydrological changes that occurred in the medieval Hungarian kingdom (covering the majority of the Carpathian Basin) between 1000 and 1500 AD. The analysis was based on contemporary documentary evidence presented for the first time and the results of archaeological and scientific investigations. Beyond the evidence on individual flood events, the book includes a comprehensive overview of short-, medium-, and long-term changes detected in a hydrologically sensitive environment during the transition period between the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. It also discusses the possible causes (including climate and human intervention) and the consequences for the physical and human environment, namely the related hydro-morphological changes, short- and long-term social response, and human perception issues.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: Floods and Water-Level Fluctuations in Medieval (Central-)Europe

Abstract
In the current chapter, a general overview of (Central-)European flood and water-level change research is presented regarding the Middle Ages. Concerning the last couple of thousands of years, past floods are mainly studied based on documentary and sedimentary(-archaeological) evidence. While documentary sources provide high-resolution (annual, seasonal, monthly) information predominantly related to the last hundreds, or a thousand years, sedimentary-based evidence is able to detect mainly low-resolution (multidecadal, centennial) water-level, hydroclimate and flood changes on a multimillennial scale. In the present chapter, after the discussion of long-term changes, flood-rich and flood-poor periods detected in Europe based on documentary evidence, the individual great flood years of the Middle Ages in Europe are discussed, with special emphasis on Central Europe. This is followed by an overview of major medieval hydroclimatic shifts and break points detected in sedimentary evidence in different parts of Europe, with an emphasis on Central Europe,regarding lake/mire water-level changes, variability and changes in the frequency and intensity of floods captured in lake sedimentation and in river alluvia. Finally, an overview of major research directions on flood-related archaeological investigations is presented in brief.
Andrea Kiss

Chapter 2. An Environmental Background: Floods, Modern Hydrology and Medieval Environment

Abstract
This chapter is divided into two main parts: in the first part of the chapter the water bodies of the Carpathian Basin and their general flood behaviour are discussed. The main characteristics and flood behaviour of the Rivers Danube and Tisza and those of their main tributaries are considered separately, together with some differences between the present-day and historical conditions. The second part of the chapter is concentrated on the medieval environment and the main socio-economic and complex environmental factors that influenced the changes throughout the Middle Ages. Demography and population density, settlement system and its transformation, including their socio-economic drivers, changes in vegetation cover (including forests and forest clearance), land use and agriculture—and their potential influence on flood regime changes—are also presented in brief. Furthermore, medieval water management, types and intensity of human impact as well as the industrial activities and their potential effects on hydrology are also included in the discussion, providing a socio-economic and environmental background to the better understanding of the flood processes in medieval Hungary and the Carpathian Basin .
Andrea Kiss

Chapter 3. Long-Term Hydrological Changes Based on Sedimentary and Archaeological Evidence

Abstract
In this chapter, hydrological variability and changes that occurred in the Carpathian Basin are discussed, on millennial, centennial and decadal scale, presenting the results of multiproxy sedimentary research and archaeological investigations. Major topics of the chapter concern water-level and hydroclimatic changes of lakes, wetlands and peat bogs in entire Middle Ages, analysed by using complex multiproxy sedimentary macro-/microfossil-based hydroclimate reconstructions. Based on archaeological evidence, the potential water-level changes of the largest lakes, wetlands and some detected grounwater-table changes are also presented, partly concerning the late early-medieval, but mainly regarding the high-and late-medieval period. Largest in quantity, potential river flood changes, great and extraordinary floods, flood-rich periods, mainly those occurred on the Danube and partly on other rivers, are discussed, detected predominantly in archaeological and partly in sedimentary evidence. Concluding results, a humid period of the sixth–ninth century is followed by a drier period that culminated in the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are more complex, but generally wetter conditions were detected that became especially visible in the fifteenth century. The most complex, sedimentary and archaeological set of information, available for the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, may also pinpoint on multidecadal variations and high water/flood-rich/wetter periods, especially around the turn of the fourteenth–fifteenth and that of the fifteenth–sixteenth century, but on the Danube periods, potentially richer in great floods, were as well suggested for the early and the mid/late thirteenth centhuries that probably extended to the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. However, significant spatial differences were identified, especially in sedimentary evidence, in water-level and flood changes over the Middle Ages.
Andrea Kiss

Chapter 4. Documentary Sources and Methodology

Abstract
In the present chapter the flood-related medieval documentary source evidence, together with key methodological issues, are discussed. The chapter is divided into three main parts. In the first section the types, main characteristics of documentary source containing flood-related information, their reliability, punctuality and the circumstances of flood observations are presented. In the second part of the chapter, the temporal and spatial distribution of flood events and their causes are discussed, with special emphasis on the information available in the most frequent source type, charters. The third section is devoted to terminology and methodological questions: on the one hand, the most frequently applied words and their textual context are provided; on the other hand, the available documentary evidence is grouped according to temporal resolution. In case of punctually dated, individual flood events, the methods of magnitude classification are presented and discussed in detail that provides the methodological background to the index-based magnitude analysis in Chap. 6, together with the uncertainties that may arise while applying medieval documentary evidence.
Andrea Kiss

Chapter 5. Catalogue of Floods in Medieval Hungary 1001–1500: Analysis of Individual Flood Reports

Abstract
In this chapter all medieval reports on flood events, preserved in contemporary documentation, either regarding single floods, series of events or the information closely related to preceding floods and high waters, are presented and separately analysed, as individual case studies. Flood-related information is mainly available in legal documentation (primarily charters) and partly in account books, foreign and domestic narratives and private correspondence. In order to understand the main characteristics of the individual events, each flood case is discussed in its local hydrological and environmental context; moreover, the historical context, interpretation questions, flood magnitude classification, timing, location and related uncertainties are as well discussed in more detail. The chapter contains 223 case studies on flood events: 21 from the eleventh–thirteenth, 82 from the fourteenth and 120 cases from the fifteenth centuries. Whereas for the eleventh and twelfth centuries flood references are only exceptionally available in contemporary documentation, flood is a more frequently mentioned phenomenon from the thirteenth century. The real increase of flood-related documentation is dated to the fourteenth century; the late Middle Ages is the best-documented period with special emphasis on the fifteenth century. Beyond the analysis of single flood references, if available, parallel flood observations in the neighbouring countries and Europe, with special emphasis on Central Europe, are also provided in each case study, together with the known weather conditions that might have been responsible for the development of floods.
Andrea Kiss

Chapter 6. Floods in Medieval Hungary: General Analysis, Comparisons and Conclusions

Abstract
Based on the case studies available in Chap. 5 and the evidence discussed in previous chapters, in this main chapter a complex overview and analysis of flood events are provided. The chapter is divided into three main sections. The first major section is concentrated on the physical–environmental aspects of reported floods of mainly or entirely natural origin: flood distribution, frequency and magnitude, origin of flood events, floods of main rivers, periods with highest flood frequencies, possible long-term consequences and hydromorphological changes and the weather-related information captured in flood events. The second main section specialised on human response on flood events both in its practical socio-economic consequences, responses and spiritual aspects is discussed. In the third part of the chapter, an analysis of the best-documented flood-rich periods and flood peaks, namely the late 1330s–1350s, late 1390s–early 1440s and late 1470s–1520s, is presented in more detail, in combination with related documentary and sedimentary evidence.
Andrea Kiss

Chapter 7. Floods and Long-Term Water-Level Changes in Medieval Hungary: A Brief Overview

Abstract
Floods and water-level changes of water bodies in medieval Hungary and the Carpathian Basin are the subject of the present book. Applying the results of sedimentary and archaeological investigations as well as contemporary documentary evidence, when applicable, the study period covers the entire Middle Ages, from around 500 to 1500. Beyond the systematic overview and synthesis of sedimentary and a large number of archaeological investigations, the present book hosts the first concise overview and analysis of flood-related documentary evidence from the medieval period. The present chapter provides a short overview of the major areas addressed in the present volume, with highlighting some of the main results of the book, synthetising the results of interdisciplinary investigations.
Andrea Kiss

Backmatter

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