Facts, legends and suppositions about John Hunyadi's ancestry
One of the suppositions claims that John Hunyadi, the medieval hero and Hungarian regent, was in fact the illegitimate son of the King Sigismund of Luxembourg with Elisabeth Morzsinay (Hunyadi's mother). Then, at King's request, Hunyadi's father, a faithful Wallachian knight, married Elisabeth in order to save the honor of Elisabeth. John Hunyadi himself might have kept this rumor. For sure, a royal descendance was a better to play among Hungarian nobles, than a Wallachian ancestry.
But, let us start from what we know for sure. For example, that the father of John Hunyadi was a man named Voicu (or Voyk). Voicu was a Wallachian boyar. He served in the army of Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary, Holy Roman EmperorSigismund of Luxembourg
, King of Hungary for 50 years (1387–1437), and Holy Roman Emperor (1433-1437). So, for his loyal services, Voicu was ennobled in 1409 (his son, John, was then two years of age). Voicu received from Sigismund of Luxembourg the castle of Hunedoara
– therefore the name Hunyadi.
Voicu’s wife (the mother of John Hunyadi) was Erzsebet (Elisabeth) Morzsinay, from a noble Hungarian family. These are the facts.
Now, let us explore the suppositions. One of them claims that John Hunyadi was in fact the illegitimate son of the King with Elisabeth. Being the King’s devoted knight, Voicu, the Wallachian boyar, was asked to marry Elisabeth in order to save her honor.
Finally, the legends. A princely ring was given to the new-born John Hunyadi in order to prove his royal descent at a later stage. A raven stole the ring, tells the legend, and the young John killed the raven with an arrow and recovered the precious artefact.
This legend would explain the origins of Hunyadi / Corvin House coat of arms
: the mysterious raven [corvus in latin] with a ring in its beak. The same symbol is to be found on the coat of arms of some noble Polish families during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (16th-17th century).
Some Romanian historians also highlight that John Hunyadi’s grandfather (Voicu’s father) was a Wallachian named Serb. By the end of 14th century, we know that Serb -the grandfather- had three sons, all of them in the service of King Sigismund of Luxembourg.
The Serb family –the grandfather, the father and the uncles of John Hunyadi - owned properties in Wallachia (south of Transylvania). Among these properties was the scenic village of Corbi
) in the shadow of Fagaras Mountains. This also might be at the origins of the family name and symbol on the coat of arms of Hunyadi House.