Marcus Polnar (†1506)

A Bright Star in the Constellation of a Transylvanian Family


  • Adinel C. Dincă Babéș-Bolyai University Faculty of History and Philosophy Trans.Script. The Centre for Diplomatic and Medieval Documentary Palaeography



Transylvanian Saxons, urban elite, higher education, social mobility, family politics, legal mentality


The intention of the present paper is to re-evaluate the surviving records surrounding the career and activity of Marcus Polnar, member of an influential family of Transylvanian Saxons living in Sighișoara. Although many historical sourcés – pertaining to writing and imagery – reflect the constéllation of Polnar family mémbérs, only somé givé a clué to thé éxtént of Marcus’ ascéndancy over the destiny of his blood relatives. Furthermore, these sources have been misinterpreted over the last century and a half, leading to confusions among scholars. It will be argued now that Marcus started with a well-off lineage, to which he added, through academic background and social nétworking, a réspéctablé public position, working his way into a trué ‘bright star’ of his kin. By cooperating with his brother, Michael, and by endorsing the careers of his four nephews, Marcus Polnar contributed in a decisive manner to establishing and securing influence and authority for his family, beyond the status of a local Transylvanian urban elite.