Regional Traits of Smoking in the Autonomous Principality of Transylvania


The paper discusses the first century of tobacco smoking in Central and Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire, identifying regional traits of the new habit in the Autonomous Principality of Transylvania. The author provides an overview on the introduction of tobacco smoking in the wider area, its prohibition and taxation, as well as available data on archaeologically discovered pipes. Written, archaeological, and visual sources from seventeenth-century Transylvania are discussed, some never mentioned in this context before. From the perspective of tobacco consumption, Transylvania is shown to share both Central European and Oriental traits. The dates when smoking was introduced and became widespread, and the chronology and intensity of official prohibitions, are all similar to other Central Eastern European situations. Although the sultan’s subjects were punished earlier and more harshly for smoking, albeit for a shorter period of time, they had the greatest influence spreading and developing the habit in Transylvania, where all pipes are of Turkish type and gifts of tobacco, pipes, and accessories soon became fashionable among the rich. The author of the present paper is aware of the limited nature of conclusions at such an early state of research, but identifies future directions and stresses the multiple applications of this apparently narrow field of study.

history of smoking, tobacco pipes, commodities, consumption.