Béla IV of Hungary

Béla IV of Hungary

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Béla IV (ˈbɛlə; 1206–1270), King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 (1235–70) and of Croatia (1235–70), duke of Styria 1254–58. One of the most famous kings of Hungary, he distinguished himself through his policy of strengthening of the royal power following the example of his grandfather Bela III, and by the rebuilding Hungary after the catastrophe of the Mongolian invasion
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

 in 1241. For this reason he is called by the Hungarians "the second founder of our country".

Early life


Béla was the eldest son of King Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II the Jerosolimitan was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was the younger son of King Béla III of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych...

 and his first wife, Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania was the first wife of King Andrew II of Hungary and thereby Queen consort of Hungary from 1205 until her assassination.-Family:...

. Upon Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

's request, the ecclesiastic and temporal dignitaries of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 took an oath before his birth that they would accept him as his father's successor.

The infant Béla was probably present when a group of conspirators murdered his mother on 28 September 1213. Following the murder, his father ordered only the execution of the conspirators' leader and forgave the other members of the group, which resulted in Béla's emerging antipathy against his father.

In the beginning of 1214, Béla was engaged to a daughter of Tzar Boril of Bulgaria
Boril of Bulgaria
Boril reigned as emperor of Bulgaria from 1207 to 1218. He was the son of an unnamed sister of his predecessor Kaloyan.-Biography:It is unclear whether Boril was party to the murder of Kaloyan in front of the walls of Thessalonica in 1207, but Kaloyan's intended heirs, his nephews Ivan Asen and...

. Shortly afterwards, he was crowned junior king. When his father left for a Crusade
Fifth Crusade
The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt....

 in August 1217, his maternal uncle, Archbishop Berthold of Kalocsa took Béla to the fortress of Steyr
Steyr
Steyr is a town, located in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. The town is situated at the confluence of the rivers Steyr and Enns. Steyr is Austria's 12th most populated town and simultaneously the 3rd largest town in Upper Austria....

 in Styria and he returned to Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 one year later, following his father's return from the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

.

Rex iunior


In 1220, Béla married Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina was a daughter of Theodore I Laskaris and his first wife Anna Angelina.-Life:She was a younger sister of Irene Lascarina, first Empress consort of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodore married his eldest daughter to his designated heir in 1212...

, a daughter of the Emperor Theodore I Laskaris
Theodore I Laskaris
Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris was emperor of Nicaea .-Family:Theodore Laskaris was born to the Laskaris, a noble but not particularly renowned Byzantine family of Constantinople. He was the son of Manuel Laskaris and wife Ioanna Karatzaina . He had four older brothers: Manuel Laskaris Theodoros...

 of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 and his father entrusted him with the government of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

. However, King Andrew II, who had arranged Béla's marriage during his return from the Crusade, persuaded Béla to separate from his wife in 1222. Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III , previously known as Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.-Early work:He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico...

, however, denied to declare their marriage null and void; therefore Béla took back his wife and escaped to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 fearing his father's anger. Finally, King Andrew II made an agreement with his son with the mediation of the Pope and Béla took over again the government of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

, Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

 and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

.

As governor, Béla began, with the authorization of the Pope, to take back the royal domains that King Andrew II had granted to his partisans during the first half of his reign. He laid siege to Klis
Klis
Klis is a village located around a mountain fortress bearing the same name. It is located in central Dalmatia, Croatia, located just northeast of Solin and Split near the eponymous mountain pass...

, the fortress of a turbulent Croatian baron who had to surrender.

In 1226, his father entrusted him with the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 where he assisted the missionary work of the Blackfriars
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 among the Cuman tribes
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 who settled down in the territories west of the Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

 River. As a result of their missionary work, two chieftains of the Cumans, Bartz and Membrok were baptized and they acknowledged Béla's overlordship around 1228. In the meantime, Béla began to organise the Banat of Szörény, a march
Marches
A march or mark refers to a border region similar to a frontier, such as the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales. During the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty, the word spread throughout Europe....

 of the kingdom.

In 1228, he began to revise his father's "needless and fruitless" donations in the whole territory of the kingdom with the authorisation of his father. However, his military failure in Halych
Halych
Halych is a historic city on the Dniester River in western Ukraine. The town gave its name to the historic province and kingdom of Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, of which it was the capital until the early 14th century, when the seat of the local princes was moved to Lviv...

, when assisting his younger brother, Andrew, weakened his influence and King Andrew II put an end to the revision of his former donations. During the early 1230s, Béla took part in the military expeditions of his father against Halych and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

His relation with his father became even worse when King Andrew II married, on 14 May 1234, Beatrice D'Este
Beatrice D'Este (Queen Consort of Hungary)
Blessed Beatrice d'Este was Queen consort of Hungary as the third wife of King Andrew II of Hungary.Beatrice was the only child of Marquis Aldobrandino I of Este but her mother's name and origin is unknown...

, who was thirty years his junior.

The first years of his reign


When his father died on 21 September 1235, Béla ascended the throne without any opposition and Archbishop Robert of Esztergom crowned him on 14 October in Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

. Shortly afterwards, he accused his young stepmother and his father's main advisor, Denis, Apud's son of adultery and ordered their arrest.

Béla's main purpose was to restore the royal power that had weakened during his father's rule; e.g., he ordered the burning of his advisors' seats, because he wanted to force them to stand in the presence of the king. As he also wanted to strengthen the position of the towns, he confirmed the charter of Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

 and granted new privileges to several key towns in the kingdom (Pest, Nagyszombat(Trnava
Trnava
Trnava is a city in western Slovakia, 47 km to the north-east of Bratislava, on the Trnávka river. It is the capital of a kraj and of an okres . It was the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishopric . The city has a historic center...

), Selmecbánya(Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica is a town in central Slovakia, in the middle of an immense caldera created by the collapse of an ancient volcano. For its size, the caldera is known as Štiavnica Mountains. Banská Štiavnica has a population of more than 10,000. It is a completely preserved medieval town...

), Korpona(Krupina
Krupina
Krupina is a town in southern central Slovakia. It is part of the Banská Bystrica Region and has 7,812 inhabitants as of 2005.-History:The territory of modern day Krupina was inhabited since the Neolithic, based on archaeological findings from the Bronze Age. The first written reference to the...

), Zólyom(Zvolen
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

), BarsStarý Tekov, and Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

).

He sent Friar Julian
Friar Julian
Friar Julian was one of a group of Hungarian Dominican friars who, in 1235, left Hungary in order to find those Magyars who — according to the chronicles — remained in the eastern homeland. After travelling a great distance, Friar Julian reached the capital of Volga Bulgaria, where he...

 to find the Magyar tribes who had remained in their eastern homeland. Friar Julian, after meeting with the eastern Magyars returned to Hungary in 1239 and informed Béla of the planned Mongol invasion of Europe
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

. Béla wanted to take precautions against the Mongols; therefore he granted asylum, in Hungary, to the Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 who had been defeated by the Mongols. However, the nomadic culture of the Cumans caused tensions between them and the Hungarians which became more and more acute.

Béla tried to reinforce the eastern borders of his kingdom, but the Mongol troops, led by Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

, managed to break through the frontier defenses on 12 March 1241. On hearing of the Mongols' successful attack, the citizens of Pest, who had been accusing the Cumans of cooperating with the Mongols, murdered Köten
Köten
Köten was a Cuman khan and member of the Terter clan. This Köten is the same Prince Kotjan Sutoevic of the Russian annals, who forged the Russian-Cuman alliance against the Tatars...

, the Khan of the Cumans; therefore the enraged Cumans began to plunder the countryside and they left the country.

The Mongol invasion of Hungary



After the Cumans' departure, Béla could lead only a small army against the Mongols who defeated him in the Battle of Mohi
Battle of Mohi
The Battle of Mohi , or Battle of the Sajó River, was the main battle between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe. It took place at Muhi, Southwest of the Sajó River. After the invasion, Hungary lay in ruins. Nearly half of the inhabited places had...

 on 11 April 1241. After his disastrous defeat, Béla fled to Pressburg (Bratislava
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

) and then to Hainburg
Hainburg an der Donau
Hainburg an der Donau is a town in the Bruck an der Leitha district, Lower Austria, Austria.-Geography:The city Hainburg is located next to the Danube river and Bratislava in Slovakia and 50 km east of Vienna. It is part of the Industrial Quarter Industrieviertel in Lower Austria.45.87% of the...

 where Duke Frederick II of Austria
Frederick II, Duke of Austria
Frederick II, known as the Quarrelsome or the Warlike , from the House of Babenberg, was the duke of Austria and Styria from 1230 to 1246....

 seized his treasury and forced him to cede three western counties of his kingdom to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

Béla fled from Hainburg to Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 and he sent his envoys to the Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 and Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 to seek their assistance against the Mongols. He even offered to accept the overlordship of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 in case he sent troops to Hungary, but none of the Western powers provided him any assistance.

In the meantime, the Mongols were plundering the territories of the kingdom west of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 River. Moreover, in January, they could cross the frozen Danube and Béla had to flee from the Mongol troops, the khan sent to capture him into Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

. Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 under the leadership of Kadan
Kadan
Kadaň , is a city in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The city lies on the banks of the river Ohře. Although it is situated in an industrial part of the Czech Republic there is no major industry within the city and people usually work in offices or have to commute. There are two...

 believed that the king was hiding in the Klis Fortress
Klis Fortress
The Klis Fortress is a medieval fortress situated above a village bearing the same name, near the city of Split, in central Dalmatia, Croatia. From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to...

. They attacked it in March 1242, and experienced a major failure. But when they learnt that the king was not there, they abandoned their attack on the fortress, and ascending their mounts rode of in the direction of Trogir
Trogir
Trogir is a historic town and harbour on the Adriatic coast in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia, with a population of 12,995 and a total municipality population of 13,322 . The historic city of Trogir is situated on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo...

. All the same, a number of them turned toward Split
Split (city)
Split is a Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centered around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its wide port bay. With a population of 178,192 citizens, and a metropolitan area numbering up to 467,899, Split is by far the largest Dalmatian city and...

.

The Mongols attacked the Dalmatian cities but eventually withdrew without major success, as the mountainous terrain and distance were not suitable for Mongol warfare. After failure against Croatian soldiers, Mongols retreated and Béla IV awarded Croatian towns and nobility. Much of Hungary and Croatia was plundered by the Mongols nonetheless, but without any major military success.

The "Second Founder of our Country"


Following the Mongol invasion of Hungary
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

, Béla broke with his former internal policy. Based on the experiences of the occupation, he began to grant estates to his partisans, but simultaneously he also obliged them to build up fortresses there, because only fortresses could resist the conquerors. He also encouraged the towns to protect themselves by erecting walls. He called back the Cumans to Hungary and granted them the deserted territories between the Rivers Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and Tisza
Tisza
The Tisza or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central Europe. It rises in Ukraine, and is formed near Rakhiv by the junction of headwaters White Tisa, whose source is in the Chornohora mountains and Black Tisa, which springs in the Gorgany range...

.

Because of his successful internal policy, he is greatly respected in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and commonly known as "the second founder" of the kingdom.

External expansions


Already in 1242, he could lead his troops against Duke Frederick II of Austria. During his campaign, he managed to reoccupy Sopron
Sopron
In 1910 Sopron had 33,932 inhabitants . Religions: 64.1% Roman Catholic, 27.8% Lutheran, 6.6% Jewish, 1.2% Calvinist, 0.3% other. In 2001 the city had 56,125 inhabitants...

 and Kőszeg
Koszeg
----Kőszeg is a town in Vas county, Hungary. The town is famous for its historical character.- History :The origins of the only free royal town in the historical garrison county of Vas go back to the third quarter of the 13th century...

 and he compelled the duke to renounce the three counties he had occupied during the Mongol invasion.

On 30 June 1244, Béla made a peace with the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 and he surrendered his supremacy over Zadar
Zadar
Zadar is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. It is the centre of Zadar county and the wider northern Dalmatian region. Population of the city is 75,082 citizens...

 (then called Zara) but he retained the 1/3 of the Dalmatian city's revenues of customs. In 1245, Béla provided military assistance to his son-in-law, Prince Rostislav
Rostislav of Slavonia
Rostislav Mikhailovich was a Rus' prince , and a dignitary in the Kingdom of Hungary....

 against Prince Danylo of Halych, but the latter forced back the pretender's attacks.

Upon his request, Pope Gregory IX absolved Béla of his oath he had taken to the Holy Roman Emperor during the Mongol invasion on 21 August 1245. Shortly afterwards, Duke Frederick II of Austria, who did not give up his claims to the western counties of the Kingdom of Hungary, launched an attack against Hungary. Although, he could defeat the Hungarian troops in a battle by the Leitha River, but he died in the battle. With his death, the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct, and a struggle commenced for the rule over Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Styria.

Béla granted the Banat of Szörény to the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 in 1249, when a rumour was spreading that the Mongols were preparing a new campaign against Europe. In the same year, he assisted again his son-in-law against Halych, but Prince Danylo defeated his troops by the San River
San River
The San is a river in southeastern Poland and western Ukraine, a tributary of the Vistula River, with a length of 433 km and a basin area of 16,861 km2...

. Finally, Béla decided to make an agreement with the Prince of Halych and they had a meeting in Zólyom
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

 in 1250 where Béla promised that he would not assist his son-in-law against Prince Danylo.

Béla decided to intervene in the struggle for the inheritance of the House of Babenberg and arranged a marriage between Gertrude of Austria, the niece of the deceased Duke Frederick II of Austria, and Roman Danylovich
Roman Danylovich
Roman Danylovich , Prince of Black Ruthenia 1254–1258, Prince of Slonim?.He was born as a younger son of Danylo of Halych, a powerful prince of lands east from Poland and later king of those regions, which was most of the times called Volhynia or Ruthenia .In 1252 he was married to Gertrude,...

, a son of Prince Danylo of Halych. In 1252, he led his armies against Austria and occupied the Vienna Basin
Vienna Basin
The Vienna Basin is a sedimentary basin between the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains...

. However, King Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II , called The Iron and Golden King, was the King of Bohemia from 1253 until 1278. He was the Duke of Austria , Styria , Carinthia and Carniola also....

, whose wife was Margaret
Margaret, Duchess of Austria
Margaret of Austria , was a Queen Consort of the Romans 1225–35, titular Duchess of Austria in 1252–60, and Queen consort of Bohemia 1253–60....

, the sister of Duke Frederick II, also declared his claim to the two duchies. Béla made a campaign against Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 but he could not occupy Olomouc
Olomouc
Olomouc is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. The city is located on the Morava river and is the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. Nowadays, it is an administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and sixth largest city in the Czech Republic...

; therefore he started negotiating with the King of Bohemia with the mediation of the Papal legates. Finally, Béla had a meeting with King Ottokar II in Pressburg and they concluded a peace. Based on the provision of the peace Wiener Neustadt
Wiener Neustadt
-Main sights:* The Late-Romanesque Dom, consecrated in 1279 and cathedral from 1469 to 1785. The choir and transept, in Gothic style, are from the 14th century. In the late 15th century 12 statues of the Apostles were added in the apse, while the bust of Cardinal Melchior Klesl is attributed to...

 and the Duchy of Styria
Duchy of Styria
The history of Styria concerns the region roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the Slovene region of Styria from its settlement by Germans and Slavs in the Dark Ages until the present...

 came under Béla's rule.

Struggles with his son


Béla had had his eldest son, Stephen
Stephen V of Hungary
Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

 crowned junior king already in 1246, but he did not want to share the royal power with his son. However, Stephen recruited an army against his father and persuaded Béla to cede him the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 in 1258.

In the same year, the Styrians, who would have preferred the rule of the King of Bohemia, rose against Béla's reign, but his troops suppressed their rebellion. After his victory, Béla appointed his son to Duke of Styria. Nevertheless, the Styrians rebelled against the rule of the King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 again with the support of King Ottokar II. Béla and his son commenced a military campaign against King Ottokar II's lands, but their troops were defeated on 12 July 1260 in the Battle of Kressenbrunn
Battle of Kressenbrunn
The Battle of Kressenbrunn was fought in July of 1260 near Groissenbrunn in Lower Austria between the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Hungary for the possession of the duchies of Austria and Styria...

. Following the battle, Béla renounced his claim to the Duchy of Styria on behalf of the King of Bohemia in the Peace of Pressburg
Peace of Pressburg
The Peace of Pressburg refers to four peace treaties concluded in Pressburg . The fourth Peace of Pressburg of 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars is the best-known.-First:...

.

Shortly after the peace, Stephen took over again the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

. Béla and his son jointly led their armies against Bulgaria
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

 in 1261. Nevertheless, Béla favoured his younger son, Duke Béla and his daughter, Anna, the mother-in-law of the King of Bohemia; therefore his relationship with his elder son was getting tense. The two kings (father and son) began to harass the other's partisans, and their clash seemed inevitable. Finally, the Archbishops Fülöp of Esztergom and Smaragd of Kalocsa commenced to mediate between them and the two kings signed an agreement in the summer of 1262 in Pozsony
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

. Based on the agreement, Stephen V took over the government of the parts of the Kingdom East of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

.

However, their reconciliation was only temporary, because their partisans were continuously inciting them against each other. In 1264, the junior king attached his mother's and sister's estates in his domains. Béla sent troops against his son, whose wife and son were soon captured, while Stephen had to retreat to the Castle of Feketehalom(Codlea). However, the young king managed to repel the siege of his father's troops and to commence a counter-attack. Stephen V won a strategic victory over Béla's troops in the Battle of Isaszeg in March 1265 and in the subsequent peace Béla was obliged to cede the government of the Eastern parts of his kingdom again to his son. On 23 March 1266, they confirmed personally the peace in the Convent of the Blessed Virgin on the Nyulak szigete ('Rabbits' Island').

In 1267, the "prelates and nobles" of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 held a joint assembly in Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

, and their decisions were confirmed by both Béla and his son.

His last years


Béla lost his favourite son in the summer of 1269. Afterwards, his favourite daughter, Anna exercised more and more influence over him. In his last will, Béla entrusted his daughter and his followers to her son-in-law, King Otakar II of Bohemia, because he did not trust his son.

Marriage and children


1218: Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina was a daughter of Theodore I Laskaris and his first wife Anna Angelina.-Life:She was a younger sister of Irene Lascarina, first Empress consort of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodore married his eldest daughter to his designated heir in 1212...

, a daughter of the Emperor Theodore I Lascaris of Nicaea and Anna Angelina
Anna Angelina
Anna Komnene Angelina or Comnena Angelina was a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos and of Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera....

, their children included
  1. Saint Kunigunda
    Kinga of Poland
    Saint Kinga of Poland is a saint in the Catholic Church and patroness of Poland and Lithuania....

     (5 March 1224 – 24 July 1292), wife of Prince Bolesław V the Chaste of Poland
  2. Margareth (before †1242)
  3. Catherine (before †1242)
  4. Anna, (1226/1227 – after 3 July 1271), wife of Prince Rostislav of Mačva
  5. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth of Hungary (d.1271)
    Elisabeth of Hungary was a daughter of Béla IV of Hungary and his wife Maria Laskarina. She was a member of the Árpád dynasty.- Family :...

    , (1236 – 24 October 1271), wife of Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
    Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
    Henry XIII of Bavaria, member of the Wittelsbach dynasty was Duke of Lower Bavaria. As Duke of Lower Bavaria he is also called Henry I.- Family :...

  6. Konstantia, (? – ?), wife of King Leo I of Halych
    Leo I of Halych
    Lev I of Galicia became in turn Knyaz of Belz , Knyaz of Peremyshl, king of Halych and King of Rus' , Grand Prince of Kiev .-Family:...

  7. King Stephen V of Hungary
    Stephen V of Hungary
    Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

    , (before 18 October 1239 – 6 August 1272)
  8. Saint Margaret
    Saint Margaret of Hungary
    Saint Margaret was a nun and the daughter of King Béla IV and Maria Laskarina. She was the niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and the younger sister of Saint Kinga and Blessed Yolanda.-Early life:...

    , (27 January 1242 – 18 January 1271)
  9. Blessed Ilona
    Jolenta of Poland
    Jolenta of Poland was the daughter of Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was the sister of Saint Margaret of Hungary and Saint Kinga...

    , (? – 16/17 June after 1303), wife of Bolesław the Pious  Duke of Greater Poland
    Greater Poland
    Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

  10. Duke Béla of Slavonia (c. 1245 – 1269)
  11. Szabina, wife of Mózes (Majos/Majs/Mojs/Moys), Palatine of Hungary (? – 1280)

His legacy


Because of the more and more chaotic internal situation after his death many thought him as the last ruler who brought peace to the realm. The epigram on his tomb refers this idea:
Aspice rem caram:
tres cingunt Virginis aram:
Rex, Dux, Regina,
quibus adsint Gaudia Trina
Dum licuit, tua dum viguit
rex Bela, potestas,
Fraus latuit, pax firma fuit,
regnavit honestas.

Titles


King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Croatia, Cumania, Galicia and Lodomeria, Duke of Styria (1254-1258)

Ancestry





Sources

  • 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)
  • Parsons, John Carmi. Medieval Queenship, 1997


Béla IV (ˈbɛlə; 1206–1270), King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 (1235–70) and of Croatia (1235–70), duke of Styria 1254–58. One of the most famous kings of Hungary, he distinguished himself through his policy of strengthening of the royal power following the example of his grandfather Bela III, and by the rebuilding Hungary after the catastrophe of the Mongolian invasion
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

 in 1241. For this reason he is called by the Hungarians "the second founder of our country".

Early life


Béla was the eldest son of King Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II the Jerosolimitan was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was the younger son of King Béla III of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych...

 and his first wife, Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania was the first wife of King Andrew II of Hungary and thereby Queen consort of Hungary from 1205 until her assassination.-Family:...

. Upon Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

's request, the ecclesiastic and temporal dignitaries of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 took an oath before his birth that they would accept him as his father's successor.

The infant Béla was probably present when a group of conspirators murdered his mother on 28 September 1213. Following the murder, his father ordered only the execution of the conspirators' leader and forgave the other members of the group, which resulted in Béla's emerging antipathy against his father.

In the beginning of 1214, Béla was engaged to a daughter of Tzar Boril of Bulgaria
Boril of Bulgaria
Boril reigned as emperor of Bulgaria from 1207 to 1218. He was the son of an unnamed sister of his predecessor Kaloyan.-Biography:It is unclear whether Boril was party to the murder of Kaloyan in front of the walls of Thessalonica in 1207, but Kaloyan's intended heirs, his nephews Ivan Asen and...

. Shortly afterwards, he was crowned junior king. When his father left for a Crusade
Fifth Crusade
The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt....

 in August 1217, his maternal uncle, Archbishop Berthold of Kalocsa took Béla to the fortress of Steyr
Steyr
Steyr is a town, located in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. The town is situated at the confluence of the rivers Steyr and Enns. Steyr is Austria's 12th most populated town and simultaneously the 3rd largest town in Upper Austria....

 in Styria and he returned to Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 one year later, following his father's return from the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

.

Rex iunior


In 1220, Béla married Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina was a daughter of Theodore I Laskaris and his first wife Anna Angelina.-Life:She was a younger sister of Irene Lascarina, first Empress consort of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodore married his eldest daughter to his designated heir in 1212...

, a daughter of the Emperor Theodore I Laskaris
Theodore I Laskaris
Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris was emperor of Nicaea .-Family:Theodore Laskaris was born to the Laskaris, a noble but not particularly renowned Byzantine family of Constantinople. He was the son of Manuel Laskaris and wife Ioanna Karatzaina . He had four older brothers: Manuel Laskaris Theodoros...

 of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 and his father entrusted him with the government of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

. However, King Andrew II, who had arranged Béla's marriage during his return from the Crusade, persuaded Béla to separate from his wife in 1222. Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III , previously known as Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.-Early work:He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico...

, however, denied to declare their marriage null and void; therefore Béla took back his wife and escaped to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 fearing his father's anger. Finally, King Andrew II made an agreement with his son with the mediation of the Pope and Béla took over again the government of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

, Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

 and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

.

As governor, Béla began, with the authorization of the Pope, to take back the royal domains that King Andrew II had granted to his partisans during the first half of his reign. He laid siege to Klis
Klis
Klis is a village located around a mountain fortress bearing the same name. It is located in central Dalmatia, Croatia, located just northeast of Solin and Split near the eponymous mountain pass...

, the fortress of a turbulent Croatian baron who had to surrender.

In 1226, his father entrusted him with the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 where he assisted the missionary work of the Blackfriars
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 among the Cuman tribes
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 who settled down in the territories west of the Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

 River. As a result of their missionary work, two chieftains of the Cumans, Bartz and Membrok were baptized and they acknowledged Béla's overlordship around 1228. In the meantime, Béla began to organise the Banat of Szörény, a march
Marches
A march or mark refers to a border region similar to a frontier, such as the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales. During the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty, the word spread throughout Europe....

 of the kingdom.

In 1228, he began to revise his father's "needless and fruitless" donations in the whole territory of the kingdom with the authorisation of his father. However, his military failure in Halych
Halych
Halych is a historic city on the Dniester River in western Ukraine. The town gave its name to the historic province and kingdom of Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, of which it was the capital until the early 14th century, when the seat of the local princes was moved to Lviv...

, when assisting his younger brother, Andrew, weakened his influence and King Andrew II put an end to the revision of his former donations. During the early 1230s, Béla took part in the military expeditions of his father against Halych and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

His relation with his father became even worse when King Andrew II married, on 14 May 1234, Beatrice D'Este
Beatrice D'Este (Queen Consort of Hungary)
Blessed Beatrice d'Este was Queen consort of Hungary as the third wife of King Andrew II of Hungary.Beatrice was the only child of Marquis Aldobrandino I of Este but her mother's name and origin is unknown...

, who was thirty years his junior.

The first years of his reign


When his father died on 21 September 1235, Béla ascended the throne without any opposition and Archbishop Robert of Esztergom crowned him on 14 October in Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

. Shortly afterwards, he accused his young stepmother and his father's main advisor, Denis, Apud's son of adultery and ordered their arrest.

Béla's main purpose was to restore the royal power that had weakened during his father's rule; e.g., he ordered the burning of his advisors' seats, because he wanted to force them to stand in the presence of the king. As he also wanted to strengthen the position of the towns, he confirmed the charter of Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

 and granted new privileges to several key towns in the kingdom (Pest, Nagyszombat(Trnava
Trnava
Trnava is a city in western Slovakia, 47 km to the north-east of Bratislava, on the Trnávka river. It is the capital of a kraj and of an okres . It was the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishopric . The city has a historic center...

), Selmecbánya(Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica is a town in central Slovakia, in the middle of an immense caldera created by the collapse of an ancient volcano. For its size, the caldera is known as Štiavnica Mountains. Banská Štiavnica has a population of more than 10,000. It is a completely preserved medieval town...

), Korpona(Krupina
Krupina
Krupina is a town in southern central Slovakia. It is part of the Banská Bystrica Region and has 7,812 inhabitants as of 2005.-History:The territory of modern day Krupina was inhabited since the Neolithic, based on archaeological findings from the Bronze Age. The first written reference to the...

), Zólyom(Zvolen
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

), BarsStarý Tekov, and Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

).

He sent Friar Julian
Friar Julian
Friar Julian was one of a group of Hungarian Dominican friars who, in 1235, left Hungary in order to find those Magyars who — according to the chronicles — remained in the eastern homeland. After travelling a great distance, Friar Julian reached the capital of Volga Bulgaria, where he...

 to find the Magyar tribes who had remained in their eastern homeland. Friar Julian, after meeting with the eastern Magyars returned to Hungary in 1239 and informed Béla of the planned Mongol invasion of Europe
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

. Béla wanted to take precautions against the Mongols; therefore he granted asylum, in Hungary, to the Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 who had been defeated by the Mongols. However, the nomadic culture of the Cumans caused tensions between them and the Hungarians which became more and more acute.

Béla tried to reinforce the eastern borders of his kingdom, but the Mongol troops, led by Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

, managed to break through the frontier defenses on 12 March 1241. On hearing of the Mongols' successful attack, the citizens of Pest, who had been accusing the Cumans of cooperating with the Mongols, murdered Köten
Köten
Köten was a Cuman khan and member of the Terter clan. This Köten is the same Prince Kotjan Sutoevic of the Russian annals, who forged the Russian-Cuman alliance against the Tatars...

, the Khan of the Cumans; therefore the enraged Cumans began to plunder the countryside and they left the country.

The Mongol invasion of Hungary



After the Cumans' departure, Béla could lead only a small army against the Mongols who defeated him in the Battle of Mohi
Battle of Mohi
The Battle of Mohi , or Battle of the Sajó River, was the main battle between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe. It took place at Muhi, Southwest of the Sajó River. After the invasion, Hungary lay in ruins. Nearly half of the inhabited places had...

 on 11 April 1241. After his disastrous defeat, Béla fled to Pressburg (Bratislava
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

) and then to Hainburg
Hainburg an der Donau
Hainburg an der Donau is a town in the Bruck an der Leitha district, Lower Austria, Austria.-Geography:The city Hainburg is located next to the Danube river and Bratislava in Slovakia and 50 km east of Vienna. It is part of the Industrial Quarter Industrieviertel in Lower Austria.45.87% of the...

 where Duke Frederick II of Austria
Frederick II, Duke of Austria
Frederick II, known as the Quarrelsome or the Warlike , from the House of Babenberg, was the duke of Austria and Styria from 1230 to 1246....

 seized his treasury and forced him to cede three western counties of his kingdom to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

Béla fled from Hainburg to Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 and he sent his envoys to the Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 and Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 to seek their assistance against the Mongols. He even offered to accept the overlordship of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 in case he sent troops to Hungary, but none of the Western powers provided him any assistance.

In the meantime, the Mongols were plundering the territories of the kingdom west of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 River. Moreover, in January, they could cross the frozen Danube and Béla had to flee from the Mongol troops, the khan sent to capture him into Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

. Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 under the leadership of Kadan
Kadan
Kadaň , is a city in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The city lies on the banks of the river Ohře. Although it is situated in an industrial part of the Czech Republic there is no major industry within the city and people usually work in offices or have to commute. There are two...

 believed that the king was hiding in the Klis Fortress
Klis Fortress
The Klis Fortress is a medieval fortress situated above a village bearing the same name, near the city of Split, in central Dalmatia, Croatia. From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to...

. They attacked it in March 1242, and experienced a major failure. But when they learnt that the king was not there, they abandoned their attack on the fortress, and ascending their mounts rode of in the direction of Trogir
Trogir
Trogir is a historic town and harbour on the Adriatic coast in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia, with a population of 12,995 and a total municipality population of 13,322 . The historic city of Trogir is situated on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo...

. All the same, a number of them turned toward Split
Split (city)
Split is a Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centered around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its wide port bay. With a population of 178,192 citizens, and a metropolitan area numbering up to 467,899, Split is by far the largest Dalmatian city and...

.

The Mongols attacked the Dalmatian cities but eventually withdrew without major success, as the mountainous terrain and distance were not suitable for Mongol warfare. After failure against Croatian soldiers, Mongols retreated and Béla IV awarded Croatian towns and nobility. Much of Hungary and Croatia was plundered by the Mongols nonetheless, but without any major military success.

The "Second Founder of our Country"


Following the Mongol invasion of Hungary
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

, Béla broke with his former internal policy. Based on the experiences of the occupation, he began to grant estates to his partisans, but simultaneously he also obliged them to build up fortresses there, because only fortresses could resist the conquerors. He also encouraged the towns to protect themselves by erecting walls. He called back the Cumans to Hungary and granted them the deserted territories between the Rivers Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and Tisza
Tisza
The Tisza or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central Europe. It rises in Ukraine, and is formed near Rakhiv by the junction of headwaters White Tisa, whose source is in the Chornohora mountains and Black Tisa, which springs in the Gorgany range...

.

Because of his successful internal policy, he is greatly respected in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and commonly known as "the second founder" of the kingdom.

External expansions


Already in 1242, he could lead his troops against Duke Frederick II of Austria. During his campaign, he managed to reoccupy Sopron
Sopron
In 1910 Sopron had 33,932 inhabitants . Religions: 64.1% Roman Catholic, 27.8% Lutheran, 6.6% Jewish, 1.2% Calvinist, 0.3% other. In 2001 the city had 56,125 inhabitants...

 and Kőszeg
Koszeg
----Kőszeg is a town in Vas county, Hungary. The town is famous for its historical character.- History :The origins of the only free royal town in the historical garrison county of Vas go back to the third quarter of the 13th century...

 and he compelled the duke to renounce the three counties he had occupied during the Mongol invasion.

On 30 June 1244, Béla made a peace with the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 and he surrendered his supremacy over Zadar
Zadar
Zadar is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. It is the centre of Zadar county and the wider northern Dalmatian region. Population of the city is 75,082 citizens...

 (then called Zara) but he retained the 1/3 of the Dalmatian city's revenues of customs. In 1245, Béla provided military assistance to his son-in-law, Prince Rostislav
Rostislav of Slavonia
Rostislav Mikhailovich was a Rus' prince , and a dignitary in the Kingdom of Hungary....

 against Prince Danylo of Halych, but the latter forced back the pretender's attacks.

Upon his request, Pope Gregory IX absolved Béla of his oath he had taken to the Holy Roman Emperor during the Mongol invasion on 21 August 1245. Shortly afterwards, Duke Frederick II of Austria, who did not give up his claims to the western counties of the Kingdom of Hungary, launched an attack against Hungary. Although, he could defeat the Hungarian troops in a battle by the Leitha River, but he died in the battle. With his death, the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct, and a struggle commenced for the rule over Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Styria.

Béla granted the Banat of Szörény to the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 in 1249, when a rumour was spreading that the Mongols were preparing a new campaign against Europe. In the same year, he assisted again his son-in-law against Halych, but Prince Danylo defeated his troops by the San River
San River
The San is a river in southeastern Poland and western Ukraine, a tributary of the Vistula River, with a length of 433 km and a basin area of 16,861 km2...

. Finally, Béla decided to make an agreement with the Prince of Halych and they had a meeting in Zólyom
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

 in 1250 where Béla promised that he would not assist his son-in-law against Prince Danylo.

Béla decided to intervene in the struggle for the inheritance of the House of Babenberg and arranged a marriage between Gertrude of Austria, the niece of the deceased Duke Frederick II of Austria, and Roman Danylovich
Roman Danylovich
Roman Danylovich , Prince of Black Ruthenia 1254–1258, Prince of Slonim?.He was born as a younger son of Danylo of Halych, a powerful prince of lands east from Poland and later king of those regions, which was most of the times called Volhynia or Ruthenia .In 1252 he was married to Gertrude,...

, a son of Prince Danylo of Halych. In 1252, he led his armies against Austria and occupied the Vienna Basin
Vienna Basin
The Vienna Basin is a sedimentary basin between the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains...

. However, King Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II , called The Iron and Golden King, was the King of Bohemia from 1253 until 1278. He was the Duke of Austria , Styria , Carinthia and Carniola also....

, whose wife was Margaret
Margaret, Duchess of Austria
Margaret of Austria , was a Queen Consort of the Romans 1225–35, titular Duchess of Austria in 1252–60, and Queen consort of Bohemia 1253–60....

, the sister of Duke Frederick II, also declared his claim to the two duchies. Béla made a campaign against Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 but he could not occupy Olomouc
Olomouc
Olomouc is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. The city is located on the Morava river and is the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. Nowadays, it is an administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and sixth largest city in the Czech Republic...

; therefore he started negotiating with the King of Bohemia with the mediation of the Papal legates. Finally, Béla had a meeting with King Ottokar II in Pressburg and they concluded a peace. Based on the provision of the peace Wiener Neustadt
Wiener Neustadt
-Main sights:* The Late-Romanesque Dom, consecrated in 1279 and cathedral from 1469 to 1785. The choir and transept, in Gothic style, are from the 14th century. In the late 15th century 12 statues of the Apostles were added in the apse, while the bust of Cardinal Melchior Klesl is attributed to...

 and the Duchy of Styria
Duchy of Styria
The history of Styria concerns the region roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the Slovene region of Styria from its settlement by Germans and Slavs in the Dark Ages until the present...

 came under Béla's rule.

Struggles with his son


Béla had had his eldest son, Stephen
Stephen V of Hungary
Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

 crowned junior king already in 1246, but he did not want to share the royal power with his son. However, Stephen recruited an army against his father and persuaded Béla to cede him the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 in 1258.

In the same year, the Styrians, who would have preferred the rule of the King of Bohemia, rose against Béla's reign, but his troops suppressed their rebellion. After his victory, Béla appointed his son to Duke of Styria. Nevertheless, the Styrians rebelled against the rule of the King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 again with the support of King Ottokar II. Béla and his son commenced a military campaign against King Ottokar II's lands, but their troops were defeated on 12 July 1260 in the Battle of Kressenbrunn
Battle of Kressenbrunn
The Battle of Kressenbrunn was fought in July of 1260 near Groissenbrunn in Lower Austria between the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Hungary for the possession of the duchies of Austria and Styria...

. Following the battle, Béla renounced his claim to the Duchy of Styria on behalf of the King of Bohemia in the Peace of Pressburg
Peace of Pressburg
The Peace of Pressburg refers to four peace treaties concluded in Pressburg . The fourth Peace of Pressburg of 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars is the best-known.-First:...

.

Shortly after the peace, Stephen took over again the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

. Béla and his son jointly led their armies against Bulgaria
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

 in 1261. Nevertheless, Béla favoured his younger son, Duke Béla and his daughter, Anna, the mother-in-law of the King of Bohemia; therefore his relationship with his elder son was getting tense. The two kings (father and son) began to harass the other's partisans, and their clash seemed inevitable. Finally, the Archbishops Fülöp of Esztergom and Smaragd of Kalocsa commenced to mediate between them and the two kings signed an agreement in the summer of 1262 in Pozsony
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

. Based on the agreement, Stephen V took over the government of the parts of the Kingdom East of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

.

However, their reconciliation was only temporary, because their partisans were continuously inciting them against each other. In 1264, the junior king attached his mother's and sister's estates in his domains. Béla sent troops against his son, whose wife and son were soon captured, while Stephen had to retreat to the Castle of Feketehalom(Codlea). However, the young king managed to repel the siege of his father's troops and to commence a counter-attack. Stephen V won a strategic victory over Béla's troops in the Battle of Isaszeg in March 1265 and in the subsequent peace Béla was obliged to cede the government of the Eastern parts of his kingdom again to his son. On 23 March 1266, they confirmed personally the peace in the Convent of the Blessed Virgin on the Nyulak szigete ('Rabbits' Island').

In 1267, the "prelates and nobles" of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 held a joint assembly in Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

, and their decisions were confirmed by both Béla and his son.

His last years


Béla lost his favourite son in the summer of 1269. Afterwards, his favourite daughter, Anna exercised more and more influence over him. In his last will, Béla entrusted his daughter and his followers to her son-in-law, King Otakar II of Bohemia, because he did not trust his son.

Marriage and children


1218: Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina was a daughter of Theodore I Laskaris and his first wife Anna Angelina.-Life:She was a younger sister of Irene Lascarina, first Empress consort of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodore married his eldest daughter to his designated heir in 1212...

, a daughter of the Emperor Theodore I Lascaris of Nicaea and Anna Angelina
Anna Angelina
Anna Komnene Angelina or Comnena Angelina was a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos and of Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera....

, their children included
  1. Saint Kunigunda
    Kinga of Poland
    Saint Kinga of Poland is a saint in the Catholic Church and patroness of Poland and Lithuania....

     (5 March 1224 – 24 July 1292), wife of Prince Bolesław V the Chaste of Poland
  2. Margareth (before †1242)
  3. Catherine (before †1242)
  4. Anna, (1226/1227 – after 3 July 1271), wife of Prince Rostislav of Mačva
  5. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth of Hungary (d.1271)
    Elisabeth of Hungary was a daughter of Béla IV of Hungary and his wife Maria Laskarina. She was a member of the Árpád dynasty.- Family :...

    , (1236 – 24 October 1271), wife of Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
    Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
    Henry XIII of Bavaria, member of the Wittelsbach dynasty was Duke of Lower Bavaria. As Duke of Lower Bavaria he is also called Henry I.- Family :...

  6. Konstantia, (? – ?), wife of King Leo I of Halych
    Leo I of Halych
    Lev I of Galicia became in turn Knyaz of Belz , Knyaz of Peremyshl, king of Halych and King of Rus' , Grand Prince of Kiev .-Family:...

  7. King Stephen V of Hungary
    Stephen V of Hungary
    Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

    , (before 18 October 1239 – 6 August 1272)
  8. Saint Margaret
    Saint Margaret of Hungary
    Saint Margaret was a nun and the daughter of King Béla IV and Maria Laskarina. She was the niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and the younger sister of Saint Kinga and Blessed Yolanda.-Early life:...

    , (27 January 1242 – 18 January 1271)
  9. Blessed Ilona
    Jolenta of Poland
    Jolenta of Poland was the daughter of Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was the sister of Saint Margaret of Hungary and Saint Kinga...

    , (? – 16/17 June after 1303), wife of Bolesław the Pious  Duke of Greater Poland
    Greater Poland
    Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

  10. Duke Béla of Slavonia (c. 1245 – 1269)
  11. Szabina, wife of Mózes (Majos/Majs/Mojs/Moys), Palatine of Hungary (? – 1280)

His legacy


Because of the more and more chaotic internal situation after his death many thought him as the last ruler who brought peace to the realm. The epigram on his tomb refers this idea:
Aspice rem caram:
tres cingunt Virginis aram:
Rex, Dux, Regina,
quibus adsint Gaudia Trina
Dum licuit, tua dum viguit
rex Bela, potestas,
Fraus latuit, pax firma fuit,
regnavit honestas.

Titles


King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Croatia, Cumania, Galicia and Lodomeria, Duke of Styria (1254-1258)

Ancestry





Sources

  • 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)
  • Parsons, John Carmi. Medieval Queenship, 1997


Béla IV (ˈbɛlə; 1206–1270), King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 (1235–70) and of Croatia (1235–70), duke of Styria 1254–58. One of the most famous kings of Hungary, he distinguished himself through his policy of strengthening of the royal power following the example of his grandfather Bela III, and by the rebuilding Hungary after the catastrophe of the Mongolian invasion
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

 in 1241. For this reason he is called by the Hungarians "the second founder of our country".

Early life


Béla was the eldest son of King Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II the Jerosolimitan was King of Hungary and Croatia . He was the younger son of King Béla III of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych...

 and his first wife, Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania
Gertrude of Merania was the first wife of King Andrew II of Hungary and thereby Queen consort of Hungary from 1205 until her assassination.-Family:...

. Upon Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

's request, the ecclesiastic and temporal dignitaries of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 took an oath before his birth that they would accept him as his father's successor.

The infant Béla was probably present when a group of conspirators murdered his mother on 28 September 1213. Following the murder, his father ordered only the execution of the conspirators' leader and forgave the other members of the group, which resulted in Béla's emerging antipathy against his father.

In the beginning of 1214, Béla was engaged to a daughter of Tzar Boril of Bulgaria
Boril of Bulgaria
Boril reigned as emperor of Bulgaria from 1207 to 1218. He was the son of an unnamed sister of his predecessor Kaloyan.-Biography:It is unclear whether Boril was party to the murder of Kaloyan in front of the walls of Thessalonica in 1207, but Kaloyan's intended heirs, his nephews Ivan Asen and...

. Shortly afterwards, he was crowned junior king. When his father left for a Crusade
Fifth Crusade
The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt....

 in August 1217, his maternal uncle, Archbishop Berthold of Kalocsa took Béla to the fortress of Steyr
Steyr
Steyr is a town, located in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. The town is situated at the confluence of the rivers Steyr and Enns. Steyr is Austria's 12th most populated town and simultaneously the 3rd largest town in Upper Austria....

 in Styria and he returned to Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 one year later, following his father's return from the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

.

Rex iunior


In 1220, Béla married Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina was a daughter of Theodore I Laskaris and his first wife Anna Angelina.-Life:She was a younger sister of Irene Lascarina, first Empress consort of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodore married his eldest daughter to his designated heir in 1212...

, a daughter of the Emperor Theodore I Laskaris
Theodore I Laskaris
Theodoros I Komnenos Laskaris was emperor of Nicaea .-Family:Theodore Laskaris was born to the Laskaris, a noble but not particularly renowned Byzantine family of Constantinople. He was the son of Manuel Laskaris and wife Ioanna Karatzaina . He had four older brothers: Manuel Laskaris Theodoros...

 of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 and his father entrusted him with the government of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

. However, King Andrew II, who had arranged Béla's marriage during his return from the Crusade, persuaded Béla to separate from his wife in 1222. Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III , previously known as Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.-Early work:He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico...

, however, denied to declare their marriage null and void; therefore Béla took back his wife and escaped to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 fearing his father's anger. Finally, King Andrew II made an agreement with his son with the mediation of the Pope and Béla took over again the government of Slavonia
Slavonia
Slavonia is a geographical and historical region in eastern Croatia...

, Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

 and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

.

As governor, Béla began, with the authorization of the Pope, to take back the royal domains that King Andrew II had granted to his partisans during the first half of his reign. He laid siege to Klis
Klis
Klis is a village located around a mountain fortress bearing the same name. It is located in central Dalmatia, Croatia, located just northeast of Solin and Split near the eponymous mountain pass...

, the fortress of a turbulent Croatian baron who had to surrender.

In 1226, his father entrusted him with the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 where he assisted the missionary work of the Blackfriars
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 among the Cuman tribes
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 who settled down in the territories west of the Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

 River. As a result of their missionary work, two chieftains of the Cumans, Bartz and Membrok were baptized and they acknowledged Béla's overlordship around 1228. In the meantime, Béla began to organise the Banat of Szörény, a march
Marches
A march or mark refers to a border region similar to a frontier, such as the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales. During the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty, the word spread throughout Europe....

 of the kingdom.

In 1228, he began to revise his father's "needless and fruitless" donations in the whole territory of the kingdom with the authorisation of his father. However, his military failure in Halych
Halych
Halych is a historic city on the Dniester River in western Ukraine. The town gave its name to the historic province and kingdom of Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, of which it was the capital until the early 14th century, when the seat of the local princes was moved to Lviv...

, when assisting his younger brother, Andrew, weakened his influence and King Andrew II put an end to the revision of his former donations. During the early 1230s, Béla took part in the military expeditions of his father against Halych and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

His relation with his father became even worse when King Andrew II married, on 14 May 1234, Beatrice D'Este
Beatrice D'Este (Queen Consort of Hungary)
Blessed Beatrice d'Este was Queen consort of Hungary as the third wife of King Andrew II of Hungary.Beatrice was the only child of Marquis Aldobrandino I of Este but her mother's name and origin is unknown...

, who was thirty years his junior.

The first years of his reign


When his father died on 21 September 1235, Béla ascended the throne without any opposition and Archbishop Robert of Esztergom crowned him on 14 October in Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

. Shortly afterwards, he accused his young stepmother and his father's main advisor, Denis, Apud's son of adultery and ordered their arrest.

Béla's main purpose was to restore the royal power that had weakened during his father's rule; e.g., he ordered the burning of his advisors' seats, because he wanted to force them to stand in the presence of the king. As he also wanted to strengthen the position of the towns, he confirmed the charter of Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...

 and granted new privileges to several key towns in the kingdom (Pest, Nagyszombat(Trnava
Trnava
Trnava is a city in western Slovakia, 47 km to the north-east of Bratislava, on the Trnávka river. It is the capital of a kraj and of an okres . It was the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishopric . The city has a historic center...

), Selmecbánya(Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica is a town in central Slovakia, in the middle of an immense caldera created by the collapse of an ancient volcano. For its size, the caldera is known as Štiavnica Mountains. Banská Štiavnica has a population of more than 10,000. It is a completely preserved medieval town...

), Korpona(Krupina
Krupina
Krupina is a town in southern central Slovakia. It is part of the Banská Bystrica Region and has 7,812 inhabitants as of 2005.-History:The territory of modern day Krupina was inhabited since the Neolithic, based on archaeological findings from the Bronze Age. The first written reference to the...

), Zólyom(Zvolen
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

), BarsStarý Tekov, and Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

).

He sent Friar Julian
Friar Julian
Friar Julian was one of a group of Hungarian Dominican friars who, in 1235, left Hungary in order to find those Magyars who — according to the chronicles — remained in the eastern homeland. After travelling a great distance, Friar Julian reached the capital of Volga Bulgaria, where he...

 to find the Magyar tribes who had remained in their eastern homeland. Friar Julian, after meeting with the eastern Magyars returned to Hungary in 1239 and informed Béla of the planned Mongol invasion of Europe
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

. Béla wanted to take precautions against the Mongols; therefore he granted asylum, in Hungary, to the Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 who had been defeated by the Mongols. However, the nomadic culture of the Cumans caused tensions between them and the Hungarians which became more and more acute.

Béla tried to reinforce the eastern borders of his kingdom, but the Mongol troops, led by Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

, managed to break through the frontier defenses on 12 March 1241. On hearing of the Mongols' successful attack, the citizens of Pest, who had been accusing the Cumans of cooperating with the Mongols, murdered Köten
Köten
Köten was a Cuman khan and member of the Terter clan. This Köten is the same Prince Kotjan Sutoevic of the Russian annals, who forged the Russian-Cuman alliance against the Tatars...

, the Khan of the Cumans; therefore the enraged Cumans began to plunder the countryside and they left the country.

The Mongol invasion of Hungary



After the Cumans' departure, Béla could lead only a small army against the Mongols who defeated him in the Battle of Mohi
Battle of Mohi
The Battle of Mohi , or Battle of the Sajó River, was the main battle between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe. It took place at Muhi, Southwest of the Sajó River. After the invasion, Hungary lay in ruins. Nearly half of the inhabited places had...

 on 11 April 1241. After his disastrous defeat, Béla fled to Pressburg (Bratislava
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

) and then to Hainburg
Hainburg an der Donau
Hainburg an der Donau is a town in the Bruck an der Leitha district, Lower Austria, Austria.-Geography:The city Hainburg is located next to the Danube river and Bratislava in Slovakia and 50 km east of Vienna. It is part of the Industrial Quarter Industrieviertel in Lower Austria.45.87% of the...

 where Duke Frederick II of Austria
Frederick II, Duke of Austria
Frederick II, known as the Quarrelsome or the Warlike , from the House of Babenberg, was the duke of Austria and Styria from 1230 to 1246....

 seized his treasury and forced him to cede three western counties of his kingdom to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

Béla fled from Hainburg to Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 and he sent his envoys to the Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 and Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 to seek their assistance against the Mongols. He even offered to accept the overlordship of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 in case he sent troops to Hungary, but none of the Western powers provided him any assistance.

In the meantime, the Mongols were plundering the territories of the kingdom west of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 River. Moreover, in January, they could cross the frozen Danube and Béla had to flee from the Mongol troops, the khan sent to capture him into Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

. Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 under the leadership of Kadan
Kadan
Kadaň , is a city in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The city lies on the banks of the river Ohře. Although it is situated in an industrial part of the Czech Republic there is no major industry within the city and people usually work in offices or have to commute. There are two...

 believed that the king was hiding in the Klis Fortress
Klis Fortress
The Klis Fortress is a medieval fortress situated above a village bearing the same name, near the city of Split, in central Dalmatia, Croatia. From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to...

. They attacked it in March 1242, and experienced a major failure. But when they learnt that the king was not there, they abandoned their attack on the fortress, and ascending their mounts rode of in the direction of Trogir
Trogir
Trogir is a historic town and harbour on the Adriatic coast in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia, with a population of 12,995 and a total municipality population of 13,322 . The historic city of Trogir is situated on a small island between the Croatian mainland and the island of Čiovo...

. All the same, a number of them turned toward Split
Split (city)
Split is a Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centered around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its wide port bay. With a population of 178,192 citizens, and a metropolitan area numbering up to 467,899, Split is by far the largest Dalmatian city and...

.

The Mongols attacked the Dalmatian cities but eventually withdrew without major success, as the mountainous terrain and distance were not suitable for Mongol warfare. After failure against Croatian soldiers, Mongols retreated and Béla IV awarded Croatian towns and nobility. Much of Hungary and Croatia was plundered by the Mongols nonetheless, but without any major military success.

The "Second Founder of our Country"


Following the Mongol invasion of Hungary
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

, Béla broke with his former internal policy. Based on the experiences of the occupation, he began to grant estates to his partisans, but simultaneously he also obliged them to build up fortresses there, because only fortresses could resist the conquerors. He also encouraged the towns to protect themselves by erecting walls. He called back the Cumans to Hungary and granted them the deserted territories between the Rivers Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and Tisza
Tisza
The Tisza or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central Europe. It rises in Ukraine, and is formed near Rakhiv by the junction of headwaters White Tisa, whose source is in the Chornohora mountains and Black Tisa, which springs in the Gorgany range...

.

Because of his successful internal policy, he is greatly respected in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and commonly known as "the second founder" of the kingdom.

External expansions


Already in 1242, he could lead his troops against Duke Frederick II of Austria. During his campaign, he managed to reoccupy Sopron
Sopron
In 1910 Sopron had 33,932 inhabitants . Religions: 64.1% Roman Catholic, 27.8% Lutheran, 6.6% Jewish, 1.2% Calvinist, 0.3% other. In 2001 the city had 56,125 inhabitants...

 and Kőszeg
Koszeg
----Kőszeg is a town in Vas county, Hungary. The town is famous for its historical character.- History :The origins of the only free royal town in the historical garrison county of Vas go back to the third quarter of the 13th century...

 and he compelled the duke to renounce the three counties he had occupied during the Mongol invasion.

On 30 June 1244, Béla made a peace with the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 and he surrendered his supremacy over Zadar
Zadar
Zadar is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. It is the centre of Zadar county and the wider northern Dalmatian region. Population of the city is 75,082 citizens...

 (then called Zara) but he retained the 1/3 of the Dalmatian city's revenues of customs. In 1245, Béla provided military assistance to his son-in-law, Prince Rostislav
Rostislav of Slavonia
Rostislav Mikhailovich was a Rus' prince , and a dignitary in the Kingdom of Hungary....

 against Prince Danylo of Halych, but the latter forced back the pretender's attacks.

Upon his request, Pope Gregory IX absolved Béla of his oath he had taken to the Holy Roman Emperor during the Mongol invasion on 21 August 1245. Shortly afterwards, Duke Frederick II of Austria, who did not give up his claims to the western counties of the Kingdom of Hungary, launched an attack against Hungary. Although, he could defeat the Hungarian troops in a battle by the Leitha River, but he died in the battle. With his death, the male line of the House of Babenberg became extinct, and a struggle commenced for the rule over Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Styria.

Béla granted the Banat of Szörény to the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 in 1249, when a rumour was spreading that the Mongols were preparing a new campaign against Europe. In the same year, he assisted again his son-in-law against Halych, but Prince Danylo defeated his troops by the San River
San River
The San is a river in southeastern Poland and western Ukraine, a tributary of the Vistula River, with a length of 433 km and a basin area of 16,861 km2...

. Finally, Béla decided to make an agreement with the Prince of Halych and they had a meeting in Zólyom
Zvolen
Zvolen |Slatina]] rivers, close to Banská Bystrica. With its ancient castle, the town has a historical center, which represents the seat of an okres .-History:...

 in 1250 where Béla promised that he would not assist his son-in-law against Prince Danylo.

Béla decided to intervene in the struggle for the inheritance of the House of Babenberg and arranged a marriage between Gertrude of Austria, the niece of the deceased Duke Frederick II of Austria, and Roman Danylovich
Roman Danylovich
Roman Danylovich , Prince of Black Ruthenia 1254–1258, Prince of Slonim?.He was born as a younger son of Danylo of Halych, a powerful prince of lands east from Poland and later king of those regions, which was most of the times called Volhynia or Ruthenia .In 1252 he was married to Gertrude,...

, a son of Prince Danylo of Halych. In 1252, he led his armies against Austria and occupied the Vienna Basin
Vienna Basin
The Vienna Basin is a sedimentary basin between the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains...

. However, King Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II , called The Iron and Golden King, was the King of Bohemia from 1253 until 1278. He was the Duke of Austria , Styria , Carinthia and Carniola also....

, whose wife was Margaret
Margaret, Duchess of Austria
Margaret of Austria , was a Queen Consort of the Romans 1225–35, titular Duchess of Austria in 1252–60, and Queen consort of Bohemia 1253–60....

, the sister of Duke Frederick II, also declared his claim to the two duchies. Béla made a campaign against Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 but he could not occupy Olomouc
Olomouc
Olomouc is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. The city is located on the Morava river and is the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. Nowadays, it is an administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and sixth largest city in the Czech Republic...

; therefore he started negotiating with the King of Bohemia with the mediation of the Papal legates. Finally, Béla had a meeting with King Ottokar II in Pressburg and they concluded a peace. Based on the provision of the peace Wiener Neustadt
Wiener Neustadt
-Main sights:* The Late-Romanesque Dom, consecrated in 1279 and cathedral from 1469 to 1785. The choir and transept, in Gothic style, are from the 14th century. In the late 15th century 12 statues of the Apostles were added in the apse, while the bust of Cardinal Melchior Klesl is attributed to...

 and the Duchy of Styria
Duchy of Styria
The history of Styria concerns the region roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the Slovene region of Styria from its settlement by Germans and Slavs in the Dark Ages until the present...

 came under Béla's rule.

Struggles with his son


Béla had had his eldest son, Stephen
Stephen V of Hungary
Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

 crowned junior king already in 1246, but he did not want to share the royal power with his son. However, Stephen recruited an army against his father and persuaded Béla to cede him the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

 in 1258.

In the same year, the Styrians, who would have preferred the rule of the King of Bohemia, rose against Béla's reign, but his troops suppressed their rebellion. After his victory, Béla appointed his son to Duke of Styria. Nevertheless, the Styrians rebelled against the rule of the King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 again with the support of King Ottokar II. Béla and his son commenced a military campaign against King Ottokar II's lands, but their troops were defeated on 12 July 1260 in the Battle of Kressenbrunn
Battle of Kressenbrunn
The Battle of Kressenbrunn was fought in July of 1260 near Groissenbrunn in Lower Austria between the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Hungary for the possession of the duchies of Austria and Styria...

. Following the battle, Béla renounced his claim to the Duchy of Styria on behalf of the King of Bohemia in the Peace of Pressburg
Peace of Pressburg
The Peace of Pressburg refers to four peace treaties concluded in Pressburg . The fourth Peace of Pressburg of 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars is the best-known.-First:...

.

Shortly after the peace, Stephen took over again the government of Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

. Béla and his son jointly led their armies against Bulgaria
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

 in 1261. Nevertheless, Béla favoured his younger son, Duke Béla and his daughter, Anna, the mother-in-law of the King of Bohemia; therefore his relationship with his elder son was getting tense. The two kings (father and son) began to harass the other's partisans, and their clash seemed inevitable. Finally, the Archbishops Fülöp of Esztergom and Smaragd of Kalocsa commenced to mediate between them and the two kings signed an agreement in the summer of 1262 in Pozsony
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

. Based on the agreement, Stephen V took over the government of the parts of the Kingdom East of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

.

However, their reconciliation was only temporary, because their partisans were continuously inciting them against each other. In 1264, the junior king attached his mother's and sister's estates in his domains. Béla sent troops against his son, whose wife and son were soon captured, while Stephen had to retreat to the Castle of Feketehalom(Codlea). However, the young king managed to repel the siege of his father's troops and to commence a counter-attack. Stephen V won a strategic victory over Béla's troops in the Battle of Isaszeg in March 1265 and in the subsequent peace Béla was obliged to cede the government of the Eastern parts of his kingdom again to his son. On 23 March 1266, they confirmed personally the peace in the Convent of the Blessed Virgin on the Nyulak szigete ('Rabbits' Island').

In 1267, the "prelates and nobles" of the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 held a joint assembly in Esztergom
Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

, and their decisions were confirmed by both Béla and his son.

His last years


Béla lost his favourite son in the summer of 1269. Afterwards, his favourite daughter, Anna exercised more and more influence over him. In his last will, Béla entrusted his daughter and his followers to her son-in-law, King Otakar II of Bohemia, because he did not trust his son.

Marriage and children


1218: Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina
Maria Laskarina was a daughter of Theodore I Laskaris and his first wife Anna Angelina.-Life:She was a younger sister of Irene Lascarina, first Empress consort of John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodore married his eldest daughter to his designated heir in 1212...

, a daughter of the Emperor Theodore I Lascaris of Nicaea and Anna Angelina
Anna Angelina
Anna Komnene Angelina or Comnena Angelina was a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos and of Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera....

, their children included
  1. Saint Kunigunda
    Kinga of Poland
    Saint Kinga of Poland is a saint in the Catholic Church and patroness of Poland and Lithuania....

     (5 March 1224 – 24 July 1292), wife of Prince Bolesław V the Chaste of Poland
  2. Margareth (before †1242)
  3. Catherine (before †1242)
  4. Anna, (1226/1227 – after 3 July 1271), wife of Prince Rostislav of Mačva
  5. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth of Hungary (d.1271)
    Elisabeth of Hungary was a daughter of Béla IV of Hungary and his wife Maria Laskarina. She was a member of the Árpád dynasty.- Family :...

    , (1236 – 24 October 1271), wife of Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
    Henry XIII, Duke of Bavaria
    Henry XIII of Bavaria, member of the Wittelsbach dynasty was Duke of Lower Bavaria. As Duke of Lower Bavaria he is also called Henry I.- Family :...

  6. Konstantia, (? – ?), wife of King Leo I of Halych
    Leo I of Halych
    Lev I of Galicia became in turn Knyaz of Belz , Knyaz of Peremyshl, king of Halych and King of Rus' , Grand Prince of Kiev .-Family:...

  7. King Stephen V of Hungary
    Stephen V of Hungary
    Stephen V , was King of Hungary from 1270 to 1272.-Early years:...

    , (before 18 October 1239 – 6 August 1272)
  8. Saint Margaret
    Saint Margaret of Hungary
    Saint Margaret was a nun and the daughter of King Béla IV and Maria Laskarina. She was the niece of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and the younger sister of Saint Kinga and Blessed Yolanda.-Early life:...

    , (27 January 1242 – 18 January 1271)
  9. Blessed Ilona
    Jolenta of Poland
    Jolenta of Poland was the daughter of Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was the sister of Saint Margaret of Hungary and Saint Kinga...

    , (? – 16/17 June after 1303), wife of Bolesław the Pious  Duke of Greater Poland
    Greater Poland
    Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

  10. Duke Béla of Slavonia (c. 1245 – 1269)
  11. Szabina, wife of Mózes (Majos/Majs/Mojs/Moys), Palatine of Hungary (? – 1280)

His legacy


Because of the more and more chaotic internal situation after his death many thought him as the last ruler who brought peace to the realm. The epigram on his tomb refers this idea:
Aspice rem caram:
tres cingunt Virginis aram:
Rex, Dux, Regina,
quibus adsint Gaudia Trina
Dum licuit, tua dum viguit
rex Bela, potestas,
Fraus latuit, pax firma fuit,
regnavit honestas.

Titles


King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Croatia, Cumania, Galicia and Lodomeria, Duke of Styria (1254-1258)

Ancestry





Sources

  • 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)
  • Parsons, John Carmi. Medieval Queenship, 1997

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