Matthias Corvinus of Hungary

Matthias Corvinus of Hungary

Overview
Matthias Corvinus (23 February 1443 – 6 April 1490), also called the Just in folk tales, was 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...

 (as Matthias I) 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 ...

 from 1458, at the age of 14 until his death. After conducting several military campaigns he became also King of Bohemia, (1469–1490) and Duke of Austria.

Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...

: Mattias Corvinus, Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

: Matia/Matei/Mateiaş Corvin/Corvinul, Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

: Matija/Matijaš Korvin, Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

: Matyáš Korvín, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Matthias Corvinus, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

: Maciej Korwin, Rusyn
Rusyn language
Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

:Матяш Корвiн/Matiash Corvin, Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

: Матија Корвин/Matija Korvin, Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

: Matej Korvín, Slovene: Matija Korvin, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Матьяш Корвин/Matyash Korvin.

Matthias was born in Kolozsvár (Kingdom of Hungary, now Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca , commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest , Budapest and Belgrade...

, Romania) in a house now known as the Matthias Corvinus House
Matthias Corvinus House, Cluj-Napoca
The Matthias Corvinus House is one of the oldest buildings in Cluj-Napoca , Transylvania. It was built in the 15th century as a small guesthouse...

.
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Encyclopedia
Matthias Corvinus (23 February 1443 – 6 April 1490), also called the Just in folk tales, was 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...

 (as Matthias I) 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 ...

 from 1458, at the age of 14 until his death. After conducting several military campaigns he became also King of Bohemia, (1469–1490) and Duke of Austria.

Names in other languages


Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...

: Mattias Corvinus, Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

: Matia/Matei/Mateiaş Corvin/Corvinul, Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

: Matija/Matijaš Korvin, Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

: Matyáš Korvín, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Matthias Corvinus, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

: Maciej Korwin, Rusyn
Rusyn language
Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

:Матяш Корвiн/Matiash Corvin, Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

: Матија Корвин/Matija Korvin, Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

: Matej Korvín, Slovene: Matija Korvin, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Матьяш Корвин/Matyash Korvin.

Early life


Matthias was born in Kolozsvár (Kingdom of Hungary, now Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca , commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest , Budapest and Belgrade...

, Romania) in a house now known as the Matthias Corvinus House
Matthias Corvinus House, Cluj-Napoca
The Matthias Corvinus House is one of the oldest buildings in Cluj-Napoca , Transylvania. It was built in the 15th century as a small guesthouse...

. He was second son of John Hunyadi
John Hunyadi
John Hunyadi John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János , Medieval Latin: Ioannes Corvinus or Ioannes de Hunyad, Romanian: Iancu (Ioan) de Hunedoara, Croatian: Janko Hunjadi, Serbian: Сибињанин Јанко / Sibinjanin Janko, Slovak: Ján Huňady) John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János , Medieval Latin: ...

, a successful general 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...

, who had
Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

n (Romanian) ancestry and had risen through the ranks of the nobility
Nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary
This article deals with titles of the nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary.-Earlier usage :Before the accession of the Habsburgs, the nobility was structured according to the offices held in the administration of the Kingdom...

 to become regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Hungary. Matthias' mother was Erzsébet Szilágyi, from a Hungarian
Nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary
The origin of the nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary can be traced to the Magyar conquest of Pannonia in the 9th century, and it developed over the course of the Middle Ages...

 noble family.

His tutors were the learned János Vitéz
János Vitéz (archbishop)
János Vitéz was the Hungarian archbishop of Esztergom and a prominent humanist, diplomat, Latinist, mathematician, astrologist and astronomer....

, bishop of Nagyvárad (now: Oradea
Oradea
Oradea is the capital city of Bihor County, in the Crișana region of north-western Romania. The city has a population of 204,477, according to the 2009 estimates. The wider Oradea metropolitan area has a total population of 245,832.-Geography:...

), whom he subsequently raised to the primacy, and the Polish humanist Gregory of Sanok
Gregory of Sanok
Gregory of Sanok left his home at age twelve and went to Kraków, the Polish capital, in which German was the language of the city's urban patriciate. Gregory thus travelled to Germany to learn the language....

. Besides the learned languages, he was acquainted with most of the living tongues of Europe of the time. His military training proceeded under the eye of his father, whom he began to follow on his campaigns when only twelve years of age. In 1453 he was created count of Beszterce
Bistrita
Bistrița is the capital city of Bistriţa-Năsăud County, Transylvania, Romania. It is situated on the Bistriţa River. The city has a population of approximately 80,000 inhabitants, and it administers six villages: Ghinda, Sărata, Sigmir, Slătiniţa, Unirea and Viişoara.-History:The earliest sign of...

, and was knighted at the Siege of Belgrade in 1456.

The same care for his welfare led his father to choose him a bride from the powerful family of the Counts of Cilli. Matthias was married to Elizabeth of Celje. She was the only known daughter of Ulrich II of Celje
Ulrich II of Celje
Ulrich II , also known as Ulrich Cillei, was the last Princely Count of Celje.Ulrich II. was the son of Count Frederick II of Celje and his wife Elizabeth, a scion of the Croatian House of Frankopan. Little is known of his youth...

 and Catherine Cantakuzina. Her maternal grandparents were Đurađ Branković and Eirene Kantakouzene
Eirene Kantakouzene
Irene Kantakouzene was the wife of Serbian Despot Đurađ Branković. In Serbian folk legends, she is the founder of many fortresses in Serbia.-Family:...

. But Elizabeth died at the age of fifteen on November 6, 1455, before the marriage was consummated, leaving Matthias a widower at the age of twelve.

After the death of Matthias's father, there was a two-year struggle between Hungary's various barons and its Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 king, Ladislaus the Posthumous (also king of Bohemia), with treachery from all sides. Matthias's older brother Ladislaus Hunyadi was one party attempting to gain control. Matthias was inveigled to Buda by the enemies of his house, and, on the pretext of being concerned in a purely imaginary conspiracy against Ladislaus, was condemned to decapitation
Decapitation
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

, but was spared on account of his youth. In 1457, Ladislaus Hunyadi was captured with a trick and beheaded, while the king died suddenly in November that year; rumors of poisoning were dispelled by research in 1985 which gave acute leukemia
Leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

 as the cause of death. Matthias was taken hostage by George of Poděbrady
George of Podebrady
George of Kunštát and Poděbrady , also known as Poděbrad or Podiebrad , was King of Bohemia...

, governor of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, a friend of the Hunyadis who aimed to raise a national king to the Magyar throne. Poděbrady treated Matthias hospitably and affianced him with his daughter Catherine, but still detained him, for safety's sake, in Prague, even after a Magyar deputation had hastened thither to offer the youth the crown. Matthias took advantage of the memory left by his father's deed, and by the general population's dislike of foreign candidates; most the barons, furthermore, considered that the young scholar would be a weak monarch in their hands. An influential section of the magnates, headed by the Palatine Ladislaus Garai and by Nicholas of Ilok
Nicholas of Ilok
Nicholas of Ilok was Ban of Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Mačva, Voivode of Transylvania and nominal King of Bosnia from 1471 until his death....

, voivode 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...

, who had been concerned in the judicial murder of Matthias's brother Ladislaus, and hated the Hunyadis as semi-foreign upstarts, were fiercely opposed to Matthias's election; however, they were not strong enough to resist against Matthias's uncle Mihály Szilágyi and his 15,000 veterans.

Early rule






Thus, on 20 January 1458, Matthias was elected king by the Parliament
Diet (assembly)
In politics, a diet is a formal deliberative assembly. The term is mainly used historically for the Imperial Diet, the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and for the legislative bodies of certain countries.-Etymology:...

. This was the first time in the medieval Hungarian kingdom that a member of the nobility, without dynastic ancestry and relationship, mounted the royal throne. Such an election upset the usual course of dynastic succession in the age. In the Bohemian and Hungarian states they heralded a new judiciary era in Europe, characterized by the absolute supremacy of the Parliament, (dietal system) and a tendency to centralization. During his reign, Matthias reduced the power of the feudal lords, and ruled instead with a cadre of talented and highly educated individuals, chosen for their abilities rather than their social status.

At this time, the young Matthias was still a hostage of George of Poděbrady, who released him under the condition of marrying his daughter Kunhuta (later known as Catherine). On 24 January 1458, 40,000 Hungarian noblemen, assembled on the ice of the frozen Danube, unanimously elected Matthias Hunyadi king of Hungary, and on 14 February the new king made his state entry into Buda.

Matthias was 15 when he was elected King of Hungary: at this time the realm was environed by perils. The Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the Venetians
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...

 threatened it from the south, the emperor Frederick III
Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick the Peaceful KG was Duke of Austria as Frederick V from 1424, the successor of Albert II as German King as Frederick IV from 1440, and Holy Roman Emperor as Frederick III from 1452...

 from the west, and Casimir IV of Poland from the north, both Frederick and Casimir claiming the throne. The Czech mercenaries under Giszkra held the northern counties and from thence plundered those in the centre. Meanwhile Matthias's friends had only pacified the hostile dignitaries by engaging to marry the daughter of the palatine Garai to their nominee, whereas Matthias refused to marry into the family of one of his brother's murderers, and on 9 February confirmed his previous nuptial contract with the daughter of Poděbrady, who shortly afterwards was elected King of Bohemia (2 March 1458). Throughout 1458 the struggle between the young king and the magnates, reinforced by Matthias's own uncle and guardian Szilágyi, was acute. But Matthias, who began by deposing Garai and dismissing Szilágyi, and then proceeded to levy a tax, without the consent of the Diet, in order to hire mercenaries, easily prevailed. He recovered the Golubac Fortress
Golubac fortress
Golubac Fortress was a medieval fortified town on the right side of the Danube River, 4 kilometers downstream from the modern-day town of Golubac, Serbia. The fortress, which was most likely built during the 14th century, is split into three compounds which were built in stages...

 from the Ottomans, successfully invading Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and reasserting the suzerainty of the Hungarian crown over Bosnia
Bosnia (region)
Bosnia is a eponomous region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies mainly in the Dinaric Alps, ranging to the southern borders of the Pannonian plain, with the rivers Sava and Drina marking its northern and eastern borders. The other eponomous region, the southern, other half of the country is...

. In the following year there was a fresh rebellion, when the emperor Frederick was actually crowned king by the malcontents at Vienna-Neustadt (4 March 1459); Matthias however drove him out, and Pope Pius II
Pope Pius II
Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini was Pope from August 19, 1458 until his death in 1464. Pius II was born at Corsignano in the Sienese territory of a noble but decayed family...

 intervened so as to leave Matthias free to engage in a projected crusade against the Ottomans, which subsequent political complications, however, rendered impossible. On 1 May 1461, the marriage between Matthias and Poděbrady's daughter took place.

From 1461 to 1465 the career of Matthias was a perpetual struggle punctuated by truces. Having come to an understanding with his father-in-law Poděbrady, he was able to turn his arms against the emperor Frederick. In April 1462 the latter restored the holy crown for 60,000 ducats and was allowed to retain certain Hungarian counties with the title of king; in return for which concessions, extorted from Matthias by the necessity of coping with a simultaneous rebellion of the Magyar noble in league with Poděbrady's son Victorinus, the emperor recognized Matthias as the actual sovereign of Hungary. Only now was Matthias able to turn against the Ottomans, who were again threatening the southern provinces. He began by defeating the Ottoman general Ali Pasha, and then penetrated into Bosnia, capturing the newly built fortress of Jajce
Jajce
Jajce is a city and municipality located in the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is part of the Central Bosnia Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity...

 after a long and obstinate defence (December 1463). On returning home he was crowned
Coronation of the Hungarian monarch
The Coronation of the Hungarian Monarch was a ceremony in which the King or Queen of the Kingdom of Hungary was formally crowned and invested with regalia...

 with the Holy Crown on 29 March 1464. Twenty-one days after, on 8 March, the 15-years-old Queen Catherine died in childbirth. The child, a son, was stillborn.

After driving the Czechs out of his northern counties, he turned southwards again, this time recovering all the parts of Bosnia which still remained in Ottoman hands.

Wars in central Europe


Matthias gained independence of and power over the barons by dividing them, and by raising a large royal army, fekete sereg (the King's Black Army of Hungary
Black Army of Hungary
The Black Army , "Black Legion" or "Regiment"—possibly named after their black armor panoply, see below) is, in historiography, the common name given to the military forces serving under the reign of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary...

 of mercenaries
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

), whose main force included the remnants of the Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

s from Bohemia. At this time Hungary reached its greatest territorial extent of the epoch (present-day southeastern Germany to the west, 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....

 to the south, Eastern Carpathians to the east, and southwestern Poland to the north).

Soon after his coronation, Matthias turned his attention upon Bohemia, where the Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

 leader George of Poděbrady had gained the throne. The election took place on a field, in the presence of about 10,000 electors. In order to obtain as many votes as necessary he made various businesses with the key-persons, but he did not have expected that much electors, so he needed more money. Two of the most significant persons were Gašpar Ernušt Hampo de Csaktornya, who was a rich wholesaler and who borrowed money to him to be able to make the businesses there at the election before the coronation and Simon Keglević, who became the commander of Matthias Corvinus. In 1465 Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II , born Pietro Barbo, was pope from 1464 until his death in 1471.- Early life :He was born in Venice, and was a nephew of Pope Eugene IV , through his mother. His adoption of the spiritual career, after having been trained as a merchant, was prompted by his uncle's election as pope...

 excommunicated the Hussite King and ordered all the neighbouring princes to depose him. On 31 May 1468, Matthias invaded Bohemia; however, as early as 27 February 1469, he anticipated an alliance between George and Frederick by himself concluding an armistice with the former. On 3 May the Bohemian Catholics elected Matthias king of Bohemia, but this was contrary to the wishes of both pope and emperor, who preferred to partition Bohemia. George however anticipated all his enemies by suddenly excluding his own son from the throne in favour of Ladislaus, the eldest son of Casimir IV, thus skillfully enlisting Poland on his side. The sudden death of Poděbrady in March 1471 led to fresh complications. At the very moment when Matthias was about to profit by the disappearance of his most capable rival, another dangerous rebellion, headed by the primate and the chief dignitaries of the state, with the object of placing Casimir, son of Casimir IV, on the throne, paralysed Matthias's foreign policy during the critical years 1470-1471. He suppressed this domestic rebellion indeed, but in the meantime the Poles had invaded the Bohemian domains with 60,000 men, and when in 1474 Matthias was at last able to take the field against them in order to raise the siege of Breslau, he was obliged to fortify himself in an entrenched camp, whence he so skillfully harried the enemy that the Poles, impatient to return to their own country, made peace at Breslau (February 1475) on an uti possidetis
Uti possidetis
Uti possidetis is a principle in international law that territory and other property remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict, unless otherwise provided for by treaty; if such a treaty doesn't include conditions regarding the possession of property and territory taken during the war,...

basis, a peace subsequently confirmed by the congress of Olomouc (July 1479).

During the interval between these peaces, Matthias, in self-defence, again made war on the emperor, reducing Frederick to such extremities that he was glad to accept peace on any terms. By the final arrangement made between the contending princes, Matthias recognized Ladislaus as king of Bohemia proper in return for the surrender of 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...

, Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 and Upper
Upper Lusatia
Upper Lusatia is a region a biggest part of which belongs to Saxony, a small eastern part belongs to Poland, the northern part to Brandenburg. In Saxony, Upper Lusatia comprises roughly the districts of Bautzen and Görlitz , in Brandenburg the southern part of district Oberspreewald-Lausitz...

 and Lower Lusatia
Lower Lusatia
Lower Lusatia is a historical region stretching from the southeast of the Brandenburg state of Germany to the southwest of the Lubusz Voivodeship in Poland. Important towns beside the historic capital Lübben include Calau, Cottbus, Guben , Luckau, Spremberg, Finsterwalde, Senftenberg and Żary...

, hitherto component parts of the Bohemian monarchy, till he should have redeemed them for 400,000 florins. The emperor promised to pay Matthias a huge war indemnity, and recognized him as the legitimate king of Hungary on the understanding that he should succeed him if he died without male issue, a contingency at this time somewhat improbable, as Matthias, only three years previously (15 December 1476), had married his third wife, Beatrice
Beatrice of Naples
Beatrice of Naples was the daughter of Ferdinand I of Naples and Isabella of Taranto. She was queen consort to both Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary so she was Queen of Hungary and Bohemia.-Biography:Beatrice received a good education at her father's court in...

, daughter of Ferdinand I of Naples
Ferdinand I of Naples
Ferdinand I , also called Don Ferrante, was the King of Naples from 1458 to 1494. He was the natural son of Alfonso V of Aragon by Giraldona Carlino.-Biography:...

.

The emperor's failure to follow through on these promises induced Matthias to declare war against him for the third time in 1481. The Hungarian king conquered all of the fortresses in Frederick's hereditary domains. Finally, on 1 June 1485, at the head of 8,000 veterans, he made his triumphal entry into Vienna, which he henceforth made his capital. Styria, Carinthia
Duchy of Carinthia
The Duchy of Carinthia was a duchy located in southern Austria and parts of northern Slovenia. It was separated from the Duchy of Bavaria in 976, then the first newly created Imperial State beside the original German stem duchies....

 and Carniola
Carniola
Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of what is now Slovenia. As part of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land officially known as the Duchy of Carniola until 1918. In 1849, the region was subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola...

 were next subdued; Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 was only saved by the intervention of the Venetians. Matthias consolidated his position by alliances with the dukes of Saxony
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

 and Bavaria
Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

, with the Swiss Confederation and the archbishop of Salzburg, establishing henceforth the greatest potentate in central Europe.

Wars against the Ottoman Empire


In 1471 Matthias renewed the Serbian Despotate
Serbian Despotate
The Serbian Despotate was a Serbian state, the last to be conquered by the Ottoman Empire. Although the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 is generally considered the end of the medieval Serbian state, the Despotate, a successor of the Serbian Empire and Moravian Serbia survived for 70 more years,...

 in south Hungary under Vuk Grgurević
Vuk Grgurevic
Vuk Grgurević Branković , also known as Vuk the Fiery Dragon , was the titular Despot of Serbia from 1471 until his death in 1485...

 for the protection of the borders against the Ottomans. In 1479 a huge Ottoman army, on its return home from ravaging Transylvania, was annihilated at Szászváros (modern Orăştie
Orastie
Orăștie is a city in Hunedoara County, south-western Transylvania, Romania.-History:7th–9th century – on the site of an old swamp , which today is the old center of town, it was a human settlement whose traces have been scattered into the X-th century by the construction of the first...

, 13 October 1479) in the so-called Battle of Breadfield
Battle of Breadfield
The Battle of Breadfield was the most tremendous conflict fought in Transylvania up to that time in the Hungarian-Turkish Wars taking place on October 13, 1479, on the Breadfield Zsibód near the Maros River...

. The following year Matthias recaptured Jajce, drove the Ottomans from northern Serbia and instituted two new military banats, Jajce and Srebernik, out from reconquered Bosnian territory.

In 1480, when an Ottoman fleet seized Otranto in the Kingdom of Naples, at the earnest solicitation of the pope Matthias sent the Hungarian general, Balázs Magyar, to recover the fortress, which surrendered to him on 10 May 1481. Again in 1488, Matthias took Ancona
Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

 under his protection for a while, occupying it with a Hungarian garrison.

On the death of sultan Mehmet II in 1481, a unique opportunity for the intervention of Europe in Ottoman affairs presented itself. A civil war ensued in Ottoman Empire between his sons Bayezid
Bayezid II
Bayezid II or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî was the oldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512...

 and Cem
Cem
Prince Cem , December 22, 1459 – February 25, 1495) was a pretender to the Ottoman throne in the 15th century. He was a son of Mehmed II the Conqueror and younger brother of Sultan Bayezid II. He was banished to Europe, first under the protection of the Knights Hospitaller of St...

; the latter, being worsted, fled to the knights of Rhodes, by whom he was kept in custody in France. Matthias, as the next-door neighbour of the Ottomans, claimed the custody of so valuable a hostage, and would have used him as a means of extorting concessions from Bayezid. But neither the pope nor the Venetians would accept such a transfer, and the negotiations on this subject greatly embittered Matthias against the Papal court. The last days of Matthias were occupied in endeavouring to secure the succession to the throne for his illegitimate son John; Queen Beatrice, though childless, fiercely and openly opposed the idea and the matter was still pending when Matthias, who had long been crippled by gout, expired very suddenly on 6 April 1490, just before Easter.

Policies in Wallachia and Moldavia


At times Matthias had Vlad III the Impaler
Vlad III the Impaler
Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia , also known by his patronymic Dracula , and posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler , was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans...

 (best known by the majority of Romanians as: Vlad Țepeș), Prince of Wallachia, as his vassal. Although Vlad had great success against the Ottoman armies, the two Christian rulers disagreed in 1462, leading to Matthias imprisoning Vlad in Buda. However, wide-ranging support from many Western leaders for Vlad III prompted Matthias to gradually grant privileged status to his controversial prisoner. Vlad was eventually freed and married Matthias' cousin, Ilona Szilagy. As the Ottoman Empire appeared to be increasingly threatening as Vlad Țepeș had warned, he was sent to reconquer Wallachia with Hungarian support in 1476. Despite the earlier disagreements between the two leaders, it was ultimately a major blow to Hungary's status in Wallachia when Vlad was assassinated that same year.

In 1467, a conflict erupted between Matthias and the Moldavian Prince Stephen III
Stephen III of Moldavia
Stephen III of Moldavia was Prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504 and the most prominent representative of the House of Mușat.During his reign, he strengthened Moldavia and maintained its independence against the ambitions of Hungary, Poland, and the...

 (Romanian: Ștefan cel Mare), after the latter became weary of Hungarian policies in Wallachia and their presence at Kilia
Chilia Veche
Chilia Veche is a commune in Tulcea County, Romania, on the Danube Delta . It gave its name to the Chilia branch of the Danube, which separates it from Ukraine...

; added to this was the fact that Matthias had already taken sides in the Moldavian conflicts preceding Stephen's rule, as he had backed Alexăndrel (and, possibly, the ruler referred to as Ciubăr Vodă
Ciubăr Vodă
Ciubăr Vodă ruled Moldova in the winter of 1448 - 1449. His origin is unknown. He is only mentioned by Grigore Ureche, as ruler of Moldova for two months after Petru II of Moldavia....

), deposing Petru Aron
Petru Aron
Peter III Aaron , bastard son of Alexandru cel Bun, was a Voivode of Moldavia on three separate occasions: October 1451 to February 1452, August 1454 to February 1455, and May 1455 to April 1457...

. Stephen occupied Kilia, sparking Hungarian retaliation, that ended in Matthias' bitter defeat in the Battle of Baia
Battle of Baia
The Battle of Baia was fought on 15 December 1467 between the Moldavian Prince, Stephen the Great and Hungarian King, Matthias Corvinus. The battle was the last Hungarian attempt to subdue the independent Moldavia, as previous attempts had ended in failure...

 in December (the King himself is said to have been wounded thrice).

Patronage


See also: History of Buda Castle
History of Buda Castle
The history of Buda Castle is marked by periods of building, destruction and rebuilding in connection with the changing fortunes of the city and Hungary itself. The historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings was established in the 14th century by the Angevin rulers of the Kingdom...

 and Visegrád
Visegrád
Visegrád is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary.Situated north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend, Visegrád has a population 1,654 as of 2001...


Matthias was educated in Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, and his fascination with the achievements of the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

 led to the promotion of Mediterranean cultural influences in Hungary. Buda
Buda
For detailed information see: History of Buda CastleBuda is the western part of the Hungarian capital Budapest on the west bank of the Danube. The name Buda takes its name from the name of Bleda the Hun ruler, whose name is also Buda in Hungarian.Buda comprises about one-third of Budapest's...

, 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....

, 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 Visegrád
Visegrád
Visegrád is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary.Situated north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend, Visegrád has a population 1,654 as of 2001...

 were amongst the towns in Hungary that benefited from the establishment of public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 and education institutions and a new legal system under Matthias' rule. In 1465, he founded a university in 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...

, the Universitas Istropolitana which was the third university in medieval Hungary. His 1476 marriage to Beatrice, the daughter of the King of Naples, only intensified the influence of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

.

During the long reign of emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg, the Royal Castle of Buda
History of Buda Castle
The history of Buda Castle is marked by periods of building, destruction and rebuilding in connection with the changing fortunes of the city and Hungary itself. The historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings was established in the 14th century by the Angevin rulers of the Kingdom...

 became probably the largest Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 palace of the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. Matthias rebuilt the palace in early Renaissance style and further explanded it. His other favourite residence was the summer palace of Visegrád.

An indefatigable reader and lover of culture, he proved an extremely generous patron
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

, as artists from the Italian city-states
Italian city-states
The Italian city-states were a political phenomenon of small independent states mostly in the central and northern Italian peninsula between the 10th and 15th centuries....

 and Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 were present in large numbers at his court. The most important humanists living in Matthias' court were Antonio Bonfini
Antonio Bonfini
Antonio Bonfini was an Italian humanist and poet who spent the last years of his career as a court historian in Hungary with King Matthias Corvinus....

, Galeotto Marzio, Pietro Ranzano
Pietro Ranzano
Pietro Ranzano was a Dominican friar, historian, humanist and scholar who is best known for his work, De primordiis et progressu felicis Urbis Panormi, a history of the city of Palermo from its beginnings up until the contemporary period in which Ranzano was writing...

, Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance, an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism who was in touch with every major academic thinker and writer of his day, and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin...

, Aurelio Lippo Brandolini
Aurelio Lippo Brandolini
Aurelio Lippo Brandolini was an Italian humanist and political theorist who briefly flourished in the court of the Hungarian king, Matthias Corvinus. He is the author of the treatise Republics and Kingdoms Compared.-Works:...

 and the famous Hungarian poet Janus Pannonius
Janus Pannonius
Janus Pannonius was a Croatian and Hungarian Latinist, poet, diplomat and Bishop of Pécs.He was the only truly significant poet of the Renaissance in the Kingdom of Hungary and one of the better-known figures of Humanist poetry in Europe. He was born in a small village near the Drava river in a...

. Famous Italian artists served the king: Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi was an Italian painter working during the High Renaissance in Florence, Italy.-Biography:...

, Verrocchio, Giovanni Dalmata, and Cristoforo Foppa. As Galeotto Marzio tells us, Hungarian 'heroic sagas', and love songs were often sung on special occasions in the king's court alongside the international, 'modern' Burgundian-Flandrian music.
Astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 Johannes Regiomontanus built astrolabes for Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. There he calculated extensive astronomical tables and built astronomical instruments for the king.
Like many of his acculturated contemporaries, he trusted in astrology and other semi-scientific beliefs; however, he also supported true scientists and engaged frequently in discussions with philosophers and scholars.

Royal library


Matthias Corvinus's library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana
Bibliotheca Corviniana
Bibliotheca Corviniana was one of the most renowned libraries of the Renaissance world, established by Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary and Croatia between 1458 and 1490.-History:...

, was Europe's greatest collections of secular books: historical chronicles, philosophic and scientific works in the fifteenth century. His library was second in size only to the Vatican Library
Vatican Library
The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from...

. In 1489, Bartolomeo della Fonte of Florence wrote that Lorenzo de Medici founded his own Greek-Latin library encouraged by the example of the Hungarian king. Frequently, half his nights were spent in reading, after the labour of his most strenuous days.

Legacy



In the course of his expansion, Matthias strengthened his state's diplomacy. Apart from his regular network of relations with his neighbours, as well as the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 and Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

, he established regular contacts with France, Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

, Switzerland, Florence
Republic of Florence
The Republic of Florence , or the Florentine Republic, was a city-state that was centered on the city of Florence, located in modern Tuscany, Italy. The republic was founded in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the Margraviate of Tuscany upon Margravine Matilda's death. The...

, most German states, Russia and, occasionally, with Persia and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

Matthias's empire collapsed after his death, since he had no children except for an illegitimate son, John Corvinus, whom the noblemen of the country did not accept as their king. Matthias' rival as King of Bohemia, Ladislaus II of the Jagiellon
Jagiellon dynasty
The Jagiellonian dynasty was a royal dynasty originating from the Lithuanian House of Gediminas dynasty that reigned in Central European countries between the 14th and 16th century...

 line, followed him.

High tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

es, mostly falling on peasants, to sustain Matthias' lavish lifestyle and the Black Army (cumulated with the fact that the latter went on marauding across the Kingdom after being disbanded upon Matthias's death) could imply that he was not very popular with his contemporaries. But the fact that he was elected king in a small anti-Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 popular revolution, that he kept the barons in check, persistent rumours about him sounding public opinion by mingling among commoners incognito, and harsh period known witnessed by Hungary later ensured that Matthias' reign is considered one of the most glorious chapters of Hungarian history. Songs and tales refer to him as Matthias the Just (Mátyás, az igazságos in Hungarian), a ruler of justice and great wisdom, and he is arguably the most popular hero of Hungarian folklore. There is a Hungarian proverb still used today saying Matthias has died, justice is gone (Meghalt Mátyás, oda az igazság). He is also one of the sleeping kings
King in the mountain
A king in the mountain, king under the mountain or sleeping hero is a prominent motif in folklore and mythology that is found in many folktales and legends...

, e.g. as Kralj Matjaž
Kralj Matjaž
Kralj Matjaž is a legendary hero in Slovenia, possibly based on a real life king Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. The legend says that he is asleep in Mount Peca in the Alps. When his beard grows nine times around the stone table, he shall awake and bring a golden era to the Slovenes.- The legend...

 in Slovenia.

This popularity is partially mirrored in modern Romania: 19th century Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

 invested in Matthias and his fathers' Vlach roots, their Christian warrior stances, and their cultural achievements.

Titles


His titles in the 1486 laws: King of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria, Prince of Silesia and Luxembourg, Margrave of Moravia and Lusatia

Further reading

  • Christian Gastgeber - Ekaterini Mitsiou - Ioan Aurel Pop - Mihailo Popović - Johannes Preiser-Kapeller - Alexandru Simon (Hrsg.): Matthias Corvinus und seine Zeit. Europa am Übergang vom Mittelalter zur Neuzeit zwischen Wien und Konstantinopel. Veröffentlichungen zur Byzanzforschung 27 (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften). Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-7001-6891-1 (table of contents: http://hw.oeaw.ac.at/6891-1inhalt/Gastgeber_020_Inhaltsverzeichnis_005-006.pdf)

External links