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    STUDIA HISTORIA - Issue no. 1-2 / 2003  

  Abstract:  The authors of the present paper aim at investigating the general framework of the epoch in which Pintea, well-known outlaw leader in North-West Transylvania, had led an outlaw''s life between 1693-1703 and, on the other hand, at bringing new data concerning his life. Chiefly by its military and fiscal outcomes, the deep crisis that affected the Transylvanian society on the threshold of the 17th¬18th century encouraged highway robbery, phenomenon illustrated by Pintea and his mates. The wide social solidarity and complicity enjoyed by this outlaw leader explain his prestige in folk tradition, where he has become Pintea the Valiant. In time, it was natural that folk (oral) tradition would ignore many of Pintea''s real deeds and, consequently, interpreted his life and highway robbery activity of over a decade in a quite biased manner. The gradual publication of contemporary documents on Pintea''s outlaws required a critical approach and reinterpretation of this subject of social history. With this view, the authors started to investigate the available documents, as well as to look for additional material in the archives - one of which is annexed to the present paper - and they were thus able to bring new pieces of information concerning Pintea''s biography: he most likely descended from the petty aristocracy, the families Cupşa and Marchiş, and his birthplace was Măgoaja village, in nowadays Cluj county, he appeared under different names in contemporary documents and oral traditions, the period in which he led an outlaw''s life, etc. One may say that this critical approach, based on documentary sources and the elimination of some parts of the folk tradition, has managed to select the plausible aspects of the legendary life of the outlaw Pintea the Valiant as presented by oral tradition.  
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