Marcus Polnar (†1506)
A Bright Star in the Constellation of a Transylvanian Family
Keywords: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.