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According to the tradition the Counts Cseszneky de Milvány et Csesznek have descended from the clan Bána, whose origin - in György Györffy's opinion - is traceable back to the 10th century. Another notable historian Erik Fügedi suggested that the Clan Bána was a collateral branch of the Clan Katapán (Koppán) descending from the princely house of the Pecheneg Talmat tribe. According to the medieval Gesta Hungarorum, Ketel Cuman (in fact Pecheneg) khagan joined the people of Hungarian Grand Prince Álmos at Kiev in 884 CE. After the conquest of Hungary, one part of Ketel's clan settled down between Sátorhalom and Tolcsva river, whilst the other part where the Vág river falls into the Danube. At the bank of Vág Ketel's son, Alaptolma constructed the castle of Komárom, where later they were buried in a Pagan way. Ketel's descendants the Clan Katapán founded the Benedictine Abbey of Koppánmonostor. Other historians think that the relationship between the Katapáns and the Bánas was not agnatic rather matrilineal, and the Bánas descended from the Counts of Bana, who were vassals of the Avar Tudun, and as such subvassals of Charlemagne. The Clan Bána had its primeval estates around Bana village and in the Bakony mountains. They were hereditary Wildgraves of Bakony. Probably an early member of the family wore the famous sabretache of Bana.

 

The sabretache of Bana

 

The direct forefather of the Cseszneky family Count Apa from the clan Bána accompanied King Andrew II on his campaign to the Holy Land. According to a record from 1230, Pope Gregory IX investigated the complaint of Pannonhalma Abbey, because Count Apa and his son Jakab had occupied the Benedictines' possessions and fishing places in Gönyű. Another son of Apa, Mihály was mentioned in 1225 as King Andrew II's equerry, and later he rendered great service to King Béla IV during the Mongolian invasion. Mihály's son, another Jakab, who was royal swordbearer, constructed Csesznek Castle around 1263 . He and his descendants took the name Cseszneky after the castle. 

 

The ruins of Csesznek Castle 

After the extinction of the House of Árpád, in the struggle for the throne Jakab Cseszneky's sons supported the claim of Charles Robert, and after the victory of the king they served faithfully the Angevin Dynasty. Though Csesznek Castle, from which their name had derived was sold by the descendants in 14th century, they obtained other considerable estates in the Transdanubian region and in Csallóköz. The family members held important positions in the court and in the counties during the reign of Charles Robert, Louis the Great and Sigismund. The Cseszneky heirs shared their charters in 1412.


The Cseszneky estates  in the 16th century also concentrated in Győr, Pozsony, Komárom and Veszprém counties, and certain members of the family exceled at the struggle against Turks. György Cseszneky was appointed by Queen Mary, widow of Louis II, to be castellan of Tata in the difficult time after the disastrous battle of Mohács. Mihály Cseszneky as vice-castellan of Várpalota  played an important role in the defense of Várpalota against tenfold Turkish superiority in 1566. János Cseszneky was the commander of foot-soldiers in Győr, perhaps it was due to his braveness that the Ottomans could take the castle of Győr only one year after his death in 1594. Gábor and Mátyás Cseszneky walked on the field of Mars along with Bálint Balassi during the Long Ottoman War (1591-1606). Benedek Cseszneky also used bravely his sword for the defense of the fatherland, and played a part in the conclusion of the Peace Treaty of Pozsony in 1626, between King Ferdinand II and Gabriel Bethlen. Amidst the battles several family members had time for education as well, János Cseszneky in 1673, while Mátyás in 1692 studied at the University of Nagyszombat founded by Péter Pázmány.

 

 Endre Veszprémi: Ferenc Rákóczi II meets Tamás Esze

 

After the expulsion of Turks, the most important event in the history of Csesznekys was Rákóczi's War for Independence, in which the members of the family played an active role. Following Francis II Rákóczi's defeat the glory of Cseszneky family also was on the decline, and they lost most of their estates.

In the middle of the 18th century, one branch of the family moved to Bácska, where they leased several royal estates, while others settled down in Szabadka and other market towns in the region. In 1848 and 1849 several members of the Bácska branch fought at Szabadka and Csantavér against Serbian rebels. In the period of dual monarchy, Mihály Cseszneky and his son, Ferenc played an important role in the development of Hungarian mill industry and agriculture. In World War I many family members sacrificed their life for the country. After the war a significant part of the Cseszneky's goods were confiscated by the Serbian state.

During the rule of Regent Miklós Horthy, Count Gyula Cseszneky de Milvány et Csesznek was known for his patriotic poems, while his brother, Mihály gained distinction for the restoration of the mill industry of Hungary, mutilated by the imposed Peace Treaty of Trianon.

Due to the terror of the Arrow-cross Party at the end of World War II, then the Soviet occupation and Communist dictature, a part of the family was forced to leave Hungary. Those who stayed were imprisoned, deported and dragged to forced labour camps.

Despite many trials and tribulations, after eight centuries, the Cseszneky family  still keeps and hands on their ancestors' traditions. The current head of the family is Count Miklós Cseszneky and members of the family today live in Hungary, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil.