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GEZA II King of Hungary

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GEZA II King of Hungary. (King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia and Rama). [The Hungarians].
Son of Béla II King of Hungary and Helena of Rashka.

He ascended the throne as a child and during his minority the kingdom was governed by his mother. He was one of the most powerful monarchs of Hungary, who could intervene successfully in the internal affairs of the neighbouring. He was only a baby when his mother introduced him and his brother Ladislaus to the barons assembled in Arad in order to persuade them to massacre her husband's opponents.

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

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

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

In 1146, Géza married Euphrosyne, daughter of Grand Prince Mstislav I of Kiev and his second wife, Liubava Dmitrievna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was buried in Székesfehérvár.

WIFE:
Euphrosyne of Kiev. [CHART A43].
Born about 1130, daughter of Mstislav I Grand Prince of Kiev and his second wife, Liubava Dmitrievna.

In 1146, Euphrosyne married King Géza II of Hungary, who had come of age shortly before.

During her husband's reign Euphrosyne did not intervene in the politics of the kingdom, but after his death on 31 May 1162, her influence strengthened over their son, King Stephen III. The young king had to struggle against his uncles Ladislaus and Stephen to save his throne, and Euphrosyne took an active part in the struggles. She persuaded King Vladislaus II of Bohemia to give military assistance to her son against the invasion of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos.

Euphrosyne's favourite son was the youngest, Duke Géza of Hungary. When King Stephen III died on 4 March 1172, she was planning to ensure his succession against her older son, Béla, who had been living in the court of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos. However, Béla came back, and he was crowned on 13 January 1173, although the Archbishop Lukas of Esztergom denied his coronation. Shortly after, King Béla III arrested his brother, which increased the tension between Euphrosyne and her son. Duke Géza soon managed to escape, probably with Euphrosyne's help, but in 1177 he was again arrested.

In 1186, Euphrosyne tried to release her younger son again, but she failed. King Béla III ordered the arrest of Euphrosyne and kept her confined in the fortress of Barancs (Serbian: Branicevo). Shortly after, Euphrosyne was set free, but she was obliged to leave the kingdom for Constantinople. From Constantinople she moved to Jerusalem where she lived as a nun in the convent of the Hospitallers, and then in the Basilian monastery of Saint Sabbas. She died about 1193.

CHILDREN of GEZA II King of Hungary and Euphrosyne:
  1. King Stephen III of Hungary (1147 – 4 March 1172)
  2. BELA III, King of Hungary. (1148 – 23 April 1196).
  3. Elisabeth (c. 1149 – after 1189), wife of Duke Frederick of Bohemia
  4. Duke Géza (c. 1150 – before 1210)
  5. Odola (? – ?), wife of Duke Svatopluk of Bohemia
  6. Helena (c. 1158 – 25 May 1199), wife of Duke Leopold V of Austria
  7. Arpad, died young.
  8. Margaret (Margit) (1162 – ?), born posthumously; wife firstly of Isaac Macrodukas and secondly of András, Obergespan of Somogy.


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