Géza II of Hungary


Géza II of Hungary

Géza II (Hungarian: "II. Géza", Croatian: "Gejza I", Slovak: "Gejza II"), (1130, Tolna – 31 May 1162), King of Hungary and Croatia (1141–1162). He ascended the throne as a child and during his minority the kingdom was governed by his mother. He was one of the most powerful monarchs of Hungary, who could intervene successfully in the internal affairs of the neighbouring countries.

Early years

Géza was the eldest son of King Béla II of Hungary and his wife, Helena of Raška. He was only a baby when his mother introduced him and his brother, Ladislaus to the barons assembled in Arad in order to persuade them to massacre her husband's opponents.

He was crowned three days after his father's death on 13 February 1141. As he was still a minor, his mother served as regent of the kingdom helped by her brother, Beloš. She faced challenges from Boris, the son of King Coloman's adulterous queen, who disputed Géza's claim to the throne.

In April 1146, Boris managed to occupy the fortress of Pozsony. Although the Hungarian troops could reoccupy the fortress, but Henry II, Duke of Austria intervened in the struggles on behalf of the pretender. Géza lead personally his armies against the Austrian troops and defeated them on 11 September.

King of Hungary

As an adult, Géza had a reputation as a well-respected king, whose nobles did not dare to scheme against him. The power and valor of his army was also commented upon, and Géza did not hesitate to involve himself in politics.

In 1146, Géza married Euphrosyne, sister of Grand Prince Iziaslav II of Kiev.

In June 1147, the Crusader Army of King Conrad III of Germany passed through Hungary without major conflicts, then King Louis VII of France arrived to the country, followed by the pretender Boris, who had secretly joined to the French Crusaders. Although King Louis VII denied to extradite the pretender to Géza, but he promised to take him under close custody abroad.

In 1148, Géza sent troops to his brother-in-law, Iziaslav II against Prince Vladimir of Chernihiv. In 1149, he assisted his maternal uncle, Duke Uroš II of Raška against the Byzantine Empire. In 1150, Géza sent new troops to Iziaslav, who had been struggling against Prince Yuri I of Suzdal, but his brother-in-law was not able to maintain his rule in Kiev. In the same year, the Serbian and Hungarian armies were defeated by the Byzantine troops; therefore Duke Uroš II had to accept the Byzantine supremacy over Raška.

In the autumn of 1150, Géza lead his armies against Prince Vladimirko of Halicz (son-in-law of the late King Coloman), but the prince managed to persuade Géza's advisors to convince their king to give up the campaign. It can be found in a Ruthenian chronicle Hypatian Codex, where at the date of 1150 one can read: "The Hungarian King Géza II crossed the mountains and seized the stronghold of Sanok with its governor as well as many villages in Przemyśl area". In 1152, Géza and Iziaslav II went together against Halych, and they defeated Volodymyrko's armies at the San River. Géza had to return to his kingdom, because during his campaign, Boris attacked the Southern territories of Hungary supported by Byzantine troops. However, Géza could defeat the pretender and made a truce with the Byzantine Empire.

In 1154, he supported the rebellion of Andronikos Komnenos against the Emperor Manuel I and laid siege to Barancs, but the Emperor had overcome his cousin's conspiracy and liberated the fortress.

In 1157, his younger brother, Stephen conspired against him supported by their uncle, Beloš. Although Géza could overcome their conspiracy, but Stephen fled to the court of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Géza sent his envoys to the emperor and promised to assist him with troops against Milan; therefore Frederick I denied any support from Stephen who fled to Constantinople. Stephen was followed, in 1159, by their brother, Ladislaus, who also had conspired against Géza.

In 1161, inspired by the new Archbishop of Esztergom, Lukas, Géza not only acknowledged the legitimacy of Pope Alexander III instead of Antipope Victor IV, who had been supported by Emperor Frederick I., but he also renounced of the right of investiture.

He was buried in Székesfehérvár.

Marriage and children

"# 1146:" Euphrosyne of Kiev (c. 1130 – c. 1193), daughter of Grand Prince Mstislav I of Kiev and his second wife, Liubava Dmitrievna
* King Stephen III of Hungary (1147 – 4 March 1172).
* King Béla III of Hungary (1148 – 23 April 1196).
* Elisabeth (c. 1149 – after 1189), wife of Duke Frederick of Bohemia.
* Duke Géza (c. 1150 – before 1210).
* Arpad, died young.
* Odola (1156 – 1199), wife of Duke Sviatopluk of Bohemia.
* Helena (c. 1158 – 25 May 1199), wife of Duke Leopold V of Austria.
* Margaret (Margit) (1162 – ?), born posthumously; wife firstly of Isaac Macrodukas and secondly of András, Obergespan of Somogy.

Ancestors

Sources

* Engel, Pat. "Realm of St. Stephen : A History of Medieval Hungary", 2001
* Kristó Gyula - Makk Ferenc: "Az Árpád-ház uralkodói" (IPC Könyvek, 1996)
* "Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9–14. század)", főszerkesztő: Kristó Gyula, szerkesztők: Engel Pál és Makk Ferenc (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1994)
* "Magyarország Történeti Kronológiája I. – A kezdetektől 1526-ig", főszerkesztő: Benda Kálmán (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1981)

Succession|preceded=Béla II|office=King of Hungary|years=1141–1162|succeeded=Stephen IIIsuccession box
title=King of Croatia
before=Béla I
after=Stephen IV
years=1141–1162


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