Costin Feneșan


1 Ianuarie 2022

Cuvinte cheie:
Rudolf II
Giovanni Muralti
Giulio Cesare Muralti
mining in Transylvania



In 1587 the Swiss born doctor Giovanni Muralti (Muraltus/Muraldus in the Latin documents, Muralt in the German documents) moved from Poland, where he served as King Steven Báthory’s personal physician, to Transylvania, called there by Prince Sigismund Báthory, nephew of the Polish sovereign. At the Transylvanian Court in Alba Iulia, Giovanni Muralti, with the strong support of the Prince, who’a personal doctor he became, involved himself soon in the mining business. In 1597 he got for 60.000 pieces of gold coins the concession of the very rich gold mines at Zlatna (in the Western Carpathian Mountains) and at the same time the Mint in Baia Mare. Doctor Muralti became a very powerful man due to his influence on the Prince as well as his various loans of money to different Transylvanian nobles and military commanders. He called to Transylvania his two brothers, Giulio Cesare and Hector, to assist him in the mining business. As result of Prince Báthory’s withdrawal from the government in April 1598, doctor Muralti found himself in a twilight situation, being accused of opposition to the Habsburgs. He was smart enough to win Emperor Rudolph II’s favor by sending him several splendid gold samples from Transylvania, so that he could keep all his mining assets. After Transylvania being occupied in the late autumn of 1599 by Michael the Brave, Prince of Wallachia, doctor Muralti was once more clever enough to earn his support and to preserve his control on the Transylvanian gold and silver mines. Employed in a diplomatic mission to Suceava in order to restore the alliance between Moldavia and Prince Báthory against the Ottoman Empire, doctor Muralti was arrested by Ieremia Movilă, Prince of Moldavia, taken to Kamenitz and set free after some time. Meanwhile, in February 1602, Prince Báthory turned back again to Transylvania and doctor Muralti took advantage of being once more on his side, together with his brothers Giulio Cesare and Hector. But in 1602, doctor Muralti died suddenly at the age of 39 years, as it seems from the plague. The new collapse of Prince Báthory’s rule, the attack of the imperial general Basta and the following civilian war in Transylvania put Giulio Cesare Muralti in a desperate situation. Seeking for an issue, the Swissman turned then, in early December 1603 (see No.2 in the Appendix), directly to Emperor Rudolph II, offering him his services. As a supreme proof of his good intentions, Giulio Cesare Muralti submitted to the Emperor a very large report on the metallic mining (gold, silver, copper, iron) of Transylvania (see No.1 in the Appendix). His report was studied by the Imperial Court Chamber (Hofkammer) in the offing of a future rule in Transylvania. In late 1604 the imperial commissioners of Transylvania entrusted Giulio Cesare Muralti with a diplomatic mission to Wallachia, to ask Prince’s Radu Șerban military aid against Steven Bocskay. But, in January 1605, on his way back to Transylvania, Giulio Cesare Muralti was killed at Remetea-Trăscău by bandits.