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Béla II of Hungary and Helena of Raška
Béla II, King of Hungary. The Blind. King of Hungary and Croatia (1131–1141). [The Hungarians].
Born about 1108-1110; son of ALAMOS, Duke of Hungary, and Predslava of Kiev. Béla was the only son of Duke Álamos, the younger brother of King Coloman of Hungary. His mother was Predslava of Kiev.
As a child, Béla was blinded by his uncle, King Coloman who wanted to ensure the succession of his own son, the future King Stephen II. During his childhood, Béla lived in different monasteries of the kingdom until the childless King Stephen II invited him to his court. Following King Stephen's death, Béla ascended the throne, but during his reign he had continuously struggle with King Coloman's alleged son, Boris who tried to acquire the crown with the military assistance of the neighbouring countries.
Duke Álmos led several rebellions against his brother Coloman, but finally, he and Béla were blinded in 1115. Father and son were living together in the Premonstratensian Monastery of Dömös till 1126, when Duke Álmos tried to organise a conspiracy against King Stephen II, King Coloman's son and heir, but he failed and had to escape to the Byzantine Empire. Following his father's escape, Béla was taken secretly to the Monastery of Pécsvárad by his father's partisans.
In 1128, after the death of Duke Álmos, King Stephen was informed that his blind cousin was still living in Hungary, and he invited Béla to his court. Upon the king's request, Béla married Jelena, a daughter of Serbian Duke Uroš I of Raška, and the king granted the couple estates near Tolna.
On 1 March 1131, the childless king Stephan II died, and on 28 April, Béla was crowned in Székesfehérvár. King Stephen II had designated his sister's son, Saul his successor in 1126, but Saul had died before his uncle, or Béla's partisans managed to defeat him.
As Béla was blind, his wife played a decisive role in governing his kingdom. Shortly after ascending the throne, Queen Helena ordered the massacre of the people she considered responsible for her husband's blinding at an assembly in Arad. She implaced her brother, Beloš, as the count palatine, giving him supreme command over the Hungarian Army and a commendable place in the Hungarian Royal Court.
Béla's entire reign was overshadowed by a conflict with Boris, a son of King Coloman of doubtful legitimacy, in which Boris was supp orted by Poland and Rus'. In 1132, King Boleslaus III of Poland led a campaign with Rus' and Polish troops on Boris' behalf. When Béla was informed that the Polish and Rus' armies had entered to Hungary, he assembled a meeting of the barons where all the participants were killed who did not want to declare Boris a bastard. King Boleslaus and Boris were defeated near the Sajó River on 22 July, but Boris was to still prove a persistent claimant for a number of years to come.
Béla's reign was notable for his foreign policies. His sisters Hedwig and Adelaide were married to a son of Margrave Leopold III of Austria and to Duke Sobeslav I of Bohemia respectively, thereby allying Hungary with two previously inimical states. His brothers-in-law convinced Emperor Lothair III, who had been struggling against Poland, to include into the terms of the Peace of Merseburg with Boleslaw III that the Polish king would not support Boris against Béla any more.
In 1136, Béla managed to recover parts of Dalmatia from the control of the Republic of Venice, and sent an expedition into Bosnia. In 1137, he gave the title of Duke of Bosnia, with acceptance from the entire country, to his younger son Ladislaus.
Bela II died on 13 February 1141, aged 32–33. Béla died from the effects of an overindulgence of alcohol.
Helena of Raška. (Jelena).
Born after 1109; daughter of duke Uroš I, Duke of Raška and his wife, Anna.
She married Bela about 1128. She died after 1146.
- Elisabeth. Born about 1129. She married duke Mieszko III of Poland. She died before 1155.
- GEZA IIKing of Hungary. (c. 1130 – 3 May 1162).
- King Ladislaus II of Hungary (1131 – 14 January 1163).
- King Stephen IV of Hungary (c. 1133 – 11 April 1165).
- Sophia (c. 1136 – ?), nun at Admont.
- [S1]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. QUOTES as sources:
- Engel, Pat. Realm of St. Stephen : A History of Medieval Hungary, 2001
- Kristó Gyula - Makk Ferenc: Az Árpád-ház uralkodói (IPC Könyvek, 1996)
- Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9-14. század), foszerkeszto: Kristó Gyula, szerkesztok: Engel Pál és Makk Ferenc (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1994)
- Magyarország Történeti Kronológiája I. – A kezdetektol 1526-ig, foszerkeszto: Benda Kálmán (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1981)
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Béla II, King of Hungary.
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