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Menumorut

HUSBAND:
Menumorut. (Menmarot)(Menmarót)(Menumorout).
HUSBAND AND WIFE.

Menumorut was the ruler of the lands between the rivers Mure?, Some? and Tisza at the time of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin around 900, according to the Gesta Hungarorum, a Hungarian chronicle written after 1150 by an unidentified author. According to the Gesta Hungarorum, Menumorut's duchy was populated primarily with Khazars and Székelys, and he acknowledged the suzerainty of the ruling Byzantine Emperor at the time. (S1).

In Romanian historiography, the consensus describes Menumorut as one of the three Romanian rulers who attempted to resist the Magyar conquest of the intra-Carpathian regions of present-day Romania. According to the Gesta, the Magyars eventually besieged and seized Menumorut's fortress at Biharia, and forced him to give his daughter in marriage to Zoltán, the son of Árpád, the Grand Prince of the Hungarians. (S1).

The chronicle states that Menumorut died around 906 and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Zoltan. (S1).

The most important source of the Magyars' early history is a work known as De Administrando Imperio, written by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII around 952. According to the emperor, the Magyars "lived together with" the Khazars "for three years, and fought in alliance" with them for an unspecified time. The text suggests that the Magyars were once subjected to the Khazar Khaganate, the dominant power of the lands between the rivers Dnieper and Volga. (S1).

Internal strife and attacks by neighboring tribes caused the decline of the Khaganate in the early 9th century. The Magyars were among the Khazars' subject peoples who seceded, settling in the Pontic steppes to the north of the Black Sea. According to Emperor Constantine VII, the Kabars, who "were of the race" of the Khazars, also rebelled against the Khaganate and joined the Magyars. This event occurred before 881, because in that year the Magyars and the Kabars invaded East Francia, according to the longer version of the Annals of Salzburg. (S1).

The Magyars also intervened in a war between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire on the latter's behalf in about 894. The Bulgarians formed an alliance with the Pechenegs, who dwelled in the lands east of the Magyars, and they jointly invaded the Pontic steppes and defeated the Magyars, forcing them to move to the Carpathian Basin in search for a new homeland. Their conquest of the Carpathian Basin is the principal subject of the Gesta Hungarorum. The Gesta was written after 1150 by an unidentified author. He wrote primarily of the Magyars' battles with six local rulers, including Menumorut, who are not named in other annals and chronicles. (S1).

Menumorut ruled an area bordered by the rivers Tisza, Mure?, Some?, and the Igyfon Wood at the time of the Magyars' invasion, according to the Gesta Hungarorum. Menumorut's main fortress was located at Biharia, according to the Gesta. An early medieval fortress was found here, and some historians (including Salagean) have identified it as Menumorut's capital, although others (for instance, Florin Curta) argue that nothing proves that the fortress was built before the 10th century. (S1).

The Gesta Hungarorum wrote that Menumorut was the grandson of one "Prince Marót" (whose name was derived from the ancient Hungarian exonym for the Moravians), who he states was ruler of Cri?ana in the times of Attila the Hun. According to the Gesta, Menumorut communicated "haughtily with a Bulgarian heart" with the Magyars' envoys, informing them that "the emperor of Constantinople" was his lord. (S1).

The Gesta describes Menumorut as a polygamist, stating that he "had many concubines". It even suggested that Menumorut's name was connected to the Hungarian word for stallion (mén) because of his womanizing nature. According to historian Neagu Djuvara, Menumorut's name is a Hungarian form of a Turkic (possibly Bulgar) proper name. (S1).

The Magyars entered the Carpathian Basin through the Northern Carpathians, according to the Gesta Hungarorum. After conquering the northeastern region, their leader, Grand Prince Árpád, sent two envoys, Osbo and Velek, to Menumorut, demanding "the land from the Some? River to the border of Nyírség, up to the Mezes Gates". Menumorut received Árpád's envoys amicably, but refused to yield, stating that the Byzantine Emperor guaranteed him rule over the land. Osbo and Velek returned to Árpád and informed him of Menumorut's refusal. (S1).

Árpád dispatched three commanders, Tas, Szabolcs, and Tétény, to invade Menumorut's duchy, according to the Gesta. They crossed the Tisza "at the ford of Lád" and marched towards the Some?. They halted at a place near the future village of Szabolcs, where "almost all the inhabitants of the land surrendered of their own will", giving their sons as hostages to them. (S1).

Menomorut did not dare to launch a counter-attack, since more and more of his subjects were voluntarily yielding to the Magyar leaders. Upon Szabolcs's orders, an earthen fortress was built, which was named after him, and the three Magyar commanders "appointed from among the inhabitants of the land many serving men to that castle" and manned the fortress with Magyar warriors under the command of a lieutenant. (S1).

After this, the Gesta continues, a division of the Magyar army advanced towards the Mezes Gates, under the command of Szabolcs and Tas, and occupied the fortress of Satu Mare, while a second division, led by Tétény, "conquered a great number of people" in the Nyírség. The two divisions rejoined at the Mezes Gates, where "the dwellers of the land built stone gateways and a great obstacle of trees" in accordance with the Magyar leaders' orders to defend the borders of their newly conquered lands. The Gesta emphasizes that the three Magyar commanders were very proud that "they had subjected almost all the nations" of Menumorut's duchy. Tas and Szabolcs decided to return to Árpád, "subduing the whole people from the Some? River to the Cri? River" on their way. Menumorut was at this point planning to escape to the Byzantine Empire, but his warriors prevented Szabolcs and Tas from crossing the Cris at Szeghalom, thus forcing the Magyars to temporarily retreat. (S1).

After the first campaign against Menumorut, the Magyars fought with Salan (who was the lord of the lands between the Tisza and the Danube), with the Bohemians, and with Glad (the lord of the Banat), and conquered Pannonia, according to the Gesta. Árpád once again dispatched Osbo and Velek, at the head of a new army, against Menumorut's remaining lands after the birth of his son, Zoltán. Osbo and Velek crossed the Tisza and halted at the river Kórógy, where the Székelys, "who were previously the peoples" of Attila the Hun, according to Anonymus, voluntarily joined them. (S1).

Their united armies crossed the Cris River and encamped on the banks of one of its tributaries. Their arrival frightened Menumorut, who left "a host of warriors" in Biharia and "betook himself and his wife and daughter to the groves" of the Igyfon Wood. Osbo and Velek laid siege to Biharia, which was defended by "warriors gathered from diverse nations", for twelve days. During the siege, twenty Magyar, fifteen Székely warriors, and 125 of Menumorut's soldiers were killed. On the 13th day, after the besiegers made preparations for putting ladders to the wall, the defenders decided to surrender, and opened the gates of the fortress. (S1).

Having been informed of the fall of his capital, the Gesta continues, Menumorut surrendered and agreed to give his daughter in marriage to Zoltán. Árpád accepted this offer, allowing Menumorut to continue his rule over Biharia till the end of his life. Árpád "gave the county of Zaránd" to Velek, and the fortress of Veszprém to Osbo, in reward for their services during the war against Menumorut. Menumorut "died without a son" not long before 907, leaving "his whole kingdom in peace" to his son-in-law, Zoltán. (S1).

According to Salagean, Menumorut was "probably a Christian," even if the Gesta described him as a polygamist. (S1).

The existence of two villages named "Morut's house" (Marótlaka in Hungarian) and a clan Morut in Bihar County in the 13th century is well-documented, proving that at least one Morut had settled in this region. (S1).

WIFE:
?


CHILDREN of Menumorut:
  1. (daughter). She married Zoltan, Grand Prince of the Magyars.


SOURCES:

HOW ARE WE RELATED:
Menumorut
Zoltan, Third Grand Prince of the Magyars (Hungarians), and a daughter of Menumorut
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Taksony, Grand Prince of the Hungarians (died before 973) 
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Mihaly (Michael), Duke of Hungary.  Md. Adelajda, sister of Mieszko I of Poland. 
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VAZUL, Duke of Hungary
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BELA I, King of Hungary
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GEZA I, King of Hungary.
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ALAMOS, Duke of Hungary.
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Béla II, King of Hungary. 
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GEZA II, King of Hungary.
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Béla III (Béla)(Belo), King of Hungary.
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Andrew II, King of Hungary.
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Béla IV, King of Hungary. 
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Stephen V,  King of Hungary.
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Marie of Hungary. Born about 1257. She married Charles II, King of Naples.  
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Margaret (Marguerite) of Naples. She married Charles, Count of Valois.
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Jeanne of Valois. She married William III, The Good, Count of Holland and Haunault.
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Philippa of Hainault. She married Edward III Plantagenet, King Of England.
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