Andrew II of Hungary

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Andrew II
Andrew II Hungar.jpg
Andrew II of Hungary
King of Hungary and Croatia
Reign 7 May 1205 – 21 September 1235
Coronation 29 May 1205 in Székesfehérvár
Predecessor Ladislaus III
Successor Béla IV
Spouse Gertrude of Merania
Yolanda de Courtenay
Beatrice D'Este
Issue Maria, Tsaritsa of Bulgaria
Béla IV of Hungary
Saint Elizabeth
Coloman of Halych
Andrew II of Halych
Yolanda, Queen of Aragon
Dynasty Árpád dynasty
Father Béla III of Hungary
Mother Agnes of Antioch
Born c. 1177
Died 21 September 1235 (aged 57–58)
Statue of Andrew II, Heroes' Square, Budapest, Hungary

Andrew II the Jerosolimitan (Hungarian: Jeruzsálemi II András/Endre, Ukrainian: Андрій II, Croatian: Andrija II. Arpadović, Slovak: Ondrej II., Serbian: Андрија II) (c. 1177 – 21 September 1235) was King of Hungary[1] (1205–1235) and Croatia (1205–1235). He was the younger son of King Béla III of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych. However, the boyars of Halych rebelled against his rule and expelled the Hungarian troops. Following their father's death, Andrew continuously conspired against his brother, King Emeric of Hungary who had to grant him the government of Croatia and Dalmatia. When his brother and his infant son died, Andrew ascended the throne and started to grant royal domains to his partisans. He participated in the Fifth Crusade but he could not achieve any major military success. He was obliged to issue the Golden Bull confirming the privileges of the noblemen of Hungary and later he was also obliged to confirm the special privileges of the clergy.

The turbulent duke[edit]

Andrew II personal Coat of Arms

Andrew was the second son of King Béla III and his first wife, Agnes of Antioch. As younger son, Andrew had no hope to inherit the Kingdom of Hungary from his father, who wanted to ensure the inheritance of his elder son, Emeric, and had him crowned already in 1182.

Nevertheless, when Prince Vladimir II Yaroslavich of Halych, who had been expelled from his country by his subjects, fled to Hungary seeking assistance in 1188, King Béla III had him arrested and occupied his principality and he invested Andrew with Halych. The child Andrew's rule in Halych must have been only nominal; he did not even visit his principality. Although, the young prince's troops could get the mastery in 1189 when the boyars of Halych rose against his rule, but shortly afterwards Prince Vladimir II Yaroslavich managed to escape from his captivity and he expelled the Hungarian troops from Halych.

On 23 April 1196, King Béla III died and he left the Kingdom of Hungary unportioned to his eldest son, Emeric, while Andrew inherited a large amount of money in order to fulfill his father's Crusader oath. However, Andrew used the money to recruit followers among the barons and also sought the assistance of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria. In December 1197, Andrew's troops defeated King Emeric's armies in a battle near Macsek in December 1197. Following Andrew's victory, the king was obliged to transfer the government of the Duchies of Croatia and Dalmatia to Andrew.

In the beginning of 1198, Pope Innocent III requested that Andrew fulfill his father's last wishes and lead a Crusade to the Holy Land. However, instead of a Crusade, Andrew led a campaign against the neighbouring provinces and occupied Zahumlje and Rama. Andrew also went on conspiring with some prelates against his brother, but King Emeric was informed as to Andrew's plans and he personally arrested Bishop Boleszlo of Vác, one of Andrew's main supporters, and he also deprived his brother's followers (e.g., Palatine Mog) of their privileges. In the summer of 1199, King Emeric defeated Andrew in the Battle of Rád and Andrew had to flee to Austria. Finally, the two brothers made peace with the mediation of the Papal Legate Gregory, and the king granted rule of Croatia and Dalmatia again to his brother.

Around 1200, Andrew married Gertrude, a daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania. It was probably his wife who persuaded him to conspire against his brother again, but when King Emeric, who had realised that Andrew's troops outnumbered his armies, went unarmed, wearing only the crown and the sceptre, to Andrew's camp near Varasd, Andrew immediately surrendered. The king had his brother arrested, but Andrew managed to escape shortly afterwards.

Nevertheless, the king whose health was failing, wanted to secure the ascension of his young son, Ladislaus, who had been crowned on 26 August 1204. Shortly afterwards, the king reconciled with Andrew whom he appointed to govern the kingdom during his son's minority. After his brother's death on 30 September/November 1204, Andrew took over the government of the kingdom as his nephew's tutor and he also seized the money his brother had deposited on behalf of the child Ladislaus. The Dowager Queen Constance was anxious for her son's life and she escaped with King Ladislaus to the court of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria. Andrew made preparations for a war against Austria, but the child king died on 7 May 1205, thus Andrew inherited the throne.

Novæ institutiones[edit]

Andrew was crowned by Archbishop John of Kalocsa on 29 May 1205 in Székesfehérvár, but before the coronation, he had to take an oath. Andrew made a radical alteration in the internal policy followed by his predecessors and he began to bestow the royal estates to his partisans. He called this new policy novæ institutiones in his deeds, and he declared that "Nothing can set bounds to generosity of the Royal Majesty, and the best measure of grants, for a monarch, is immeasurableness". He gave away everything – money, villages, domains, whole counties – to the utter impoverishment of the treasury. Andrew was generous primarily with his wife's German relatives and followers, which caused discontent among his subjects.

Struggles for Halych[edit]

During the first years of his reign, Andrew was occupied with the discords within the Principality of Halych. In 1205, he led his armies to the principality to ensure the rule of the child Prince Danylo. Following his campaign, he adopted the title of "King of Galicia and Lodomeria" referring to his supremacy over the two neighbouring principalities. In the beginning of the next year, the child Danylo was again expelled from Halych but Andrew denied to give assistance to him because the child prince's opponent, Prince Volodymyr III Igorevych had bribed him. Nevertheless, in the same year, he made a campaign in Halych and gave assistance to Prince Roman Igorevych to acquire the throne.

In 1208, taking advantage of the quarrel between Prince Roman Igorevych and his boyars, Andrew occupied Halych and appointed a regent to govern the principality in his name, but Prince Volodymyr III Igorevych managed to reconquer his principality already in the following year.

A group of the aristocrats of his court, scandalised by Andrew's generosity towards his wife's relatives and followers, planned to offer the throne to his cousins, who had been living in the court of the Emperor Theodore I Lascaris of Nicaea, but their envoy was arrested and Andrew could overcome the conspiracy. In 1211, he granted the Burzenland to the Teutonic Knights in order to ensure the security of the southeastern borders of his kingdom against the Cumans. However, the Teutonic Knights began to establish a country independent of the King of Hungary.

In 1211, Andrew provided military assistance to Prince Danylo to reoccupy Halych. Moreover, in the following year, Andrew lead his armies personally to Halych to repulse the attack of Prince Mstilav of Peresopnytsia against Prince Danylo. Shortly afterwards, Prince Danylo, was obliged to leave his country and he sought again Andrew's assistance. Andrew left for his campaign in the summer 1213 when he was informed that a group of conspirators had murdered his queen on 28 September and he had to return.

Following his return, he ordered the execution of only the leader of the conspirators and he forgave the other members of the group, which resulted in the emerging antipathy of his son, Béla. Nevertheless, in 1214, Andrew had his son crowned.

In the summer of 1214, Andrew had a meeting with Grand Duke Leszek I of Poland and they agreed that they would divide the Principality of Halych between Hungary and Poland. Their allied troops occupied the neighbouring principality which was granted to Andrew's younger son, Coloman. However, Andrew denied to transfer the agreed territories to Duke Leszek I who made an alliance with Prince Mstilav of Novgorod and they drove away Andrew's troops from the principality.

Shortly afterwards, Andrew made an alliance again with Leszek I and they occupied Halych where again Andrew's son was appointed to prince.

The Fifth Crusade[edit]

Andrew in the Holy Land (After he defeated Sultan of Egypt)

In the meantime, Andrew began to deal with the problems of the southern borders of his kingdom. In 1214, the Hungarian troops annexed Belgrade and Braničevo from the Bulgarian Empire.

In February 1215, Andrew married Yolanda, the niece of Henry I, the Emperor of Constantinople. When the Emperor Henry I died on 11 July 1216, Andrew was planning to acquire the imperial throne, but the barons of the Latin Empire proclaimed his father-in-law, Peter of Courtenay their emperor.

Nevertheless, Andrew decided to fulfill his father's oath and made preparations for a Crusade. He agreed with the Republic of Venice to undertake the delivery of his troops to the Holy Land, in exchange he renounced the supremacy over Zára (Zadar) on behalf of the Republic. Andrew and his troops embarked on 23 August 1217 in Spalato (Split). Before his departure from the city of Split, he had made over to the Templars the Castle of Klis, a strategic point in the hinterland of Split which controlled the approaches to the town. Andrew appointed Pontius de Cruce, Master of the Order in the Hungarian Kingdom, as a regent in Croatia and Dalmatia.

The first to take up the cross in the Fifth Crusade was King Andrew II of Hungary.[2] Until his return to Hungary, king Andrew remained the leader of the Fifth Crusade.[3] Andrew and his troops embarked on 23 August 1217, in Spalato. They were transported by the Venetian fleet, which was the largest European fleet in the era. They landed on 9 October on Cyprus from where they sailed to Acre and joined John of Brienne, ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Hugh I of Cyprus, and Prince Bohemund IV of Antioch to fight against the Ayyubids in Syria. In October, the leaders of the crusaders - Masters of Hospitalers, Templars and Teutons with the leaders and dignitaries of the crusade - held a war council in Acre, over which King Andrew II presided.[4]

In Jerusalem, the walls and fortifications were demolished to prevent the Christians from being able to defend the city, if they did manage to reach it and take it. Muslims fled the city, afraid that there would be a repeat of the bloodbath of the First Crusade in 1099.

Andrew's well-mounted army defeated sultan Al-Adil I at Bethsaida on the Jordan River on November 10. Muslim forces retreated in their fortresses and towns. The catapults and trebuchets did not arrive in time, so he had fruitless assaults on the fortresses of the Lebanon and on Mount Tabor. Afterwards, Andrew spent his time collecting alleged relics. At the beginning of 1218 King Andrew II, who was very sick, decided to return to Hungary.[5]

Andrew and his army departed to Hungary in February 1218, and Bohemund and Hugh also returned home.[citation needed]

On the way home, he negotiated with King Levon I of Armenia, the Emperor Theodore I Laskaris of Nicaea and Tsar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria and arranged several marriage contracts between his children and the courts he visited.[citation needed] When he was staying in Nicaea, his cousins, who had been living there, made an unsuccessful attempt to take his life.[citation needed]

When King Andrew II, having fulfilled his Crusader vow, took his troops northward, he proceeded through Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.[citation needed] There King Andrew II arranged a marriage between his son, Andrew, and Levon's daughter, Isabelle.[citation needed]

The Golden Bull and the Diploma Andreanum[edit]

On his return, he found its kingdom in anarchy. While he had been away in the Holy Land, even his regent, Archbishop John of Esztergom had been obliged to leave the country and his treasury had been exhausted. He tried to collect money by using new instruments, such as introducing new taxes, undermining the currency and leasing his income to Jews and Muslims which increased his unpopularity.

His foreign policy was also a total failure. In August 1219, his younger son, Coloman, who had been crowned King of Halych, was expelled from his kingdom by Prince Mstilav of Novgorod. Andrew had to make peace with the Prince of Novgorod and he also engaged his youngest son, Andrew with one of his opponent's daughter.

In 1220, Andrew entrusted the government of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia to his son, Béla. Andrew also enforced Béla to separate from his wife.

In the beginning of 1222, the discontent serviens (nobles) came to Andrew's court in large numbers, and they persuaded the king to issue the Golden Bull which confirmed their privileges, including the right to disobey the King if he acted not in line with the provisions of the Golden Bull (ius resistendi).

In 1223, the junior King Béla IV took back his wife and escaped to Austria fearing of Andrew's anger. Finally, Andrew made an agreement with his son with the mediation of Pope Honorius III and the junior king took over again the government of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia. On 6 June 1224 Andrew made a peace with Duke Leopold VI of Austria.

In 1224, Andrew issued the Diploma Andreanum which unified and ensured the special privileges of the Transylvanian Saxons. It's considered the oldest Autonomy law in the world. In the same year, Andrew expelled the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania because they had ignored his overlordship.

Discords with his son[edit]

The junior King Béla IV started, with the authorization of Pope Honorius III, to take back the royal domains in his provinces that Andrew had granted to his partisans during the first half of his reign. Andrew opposed his son's policy and he entrusted Béla with the government of Transylvania while his younger son, Coloman became the governor of Béla's former provinces.

In the second half of 1226, Andrew led his armies to Halych on the request of his youngest son, Andrew. Although, Prince Mstilav defeated the royal armies, but finally he agreed to cede the government of the principality to the Hungarian prince.

During 1228, Andrew's two sons started again to take back the former royal domains in their provinces, and they persuaded Andrew to confiscate the estates of the barons who had taken part in the conspiracy against their mother. In 1229, Prince Danylo of Halych expelled Andrew's youngest son from his principality, while Frederick II, Duke of Austria started to attack the western borders of the kingdom in 1230.

The Agreement of Bereg[edit]

Andrew, in contrast with the decisions of the Fourth Council of the Lateran, often employed Jews and Muslims in the royal household. Therefore, Pope Gregory IX requested him to give up this practice. Finally, Andrew was obliged to confirm the Golden Bull and supplement it with a provision that prohibited the employment of non-Christians and also authorized the Archbishop of Esztergom to punish the king in case he ignored his promise.

In the second half of 1231, Andrew led his armies to Halych and managed to ensure his youngest son's rule in the principality. On his return to Hungary, Archbishop Robert of Esztergom took his kingdom under interdict and excommunicated the king's major dignitaries because Andrew insisted on the employment of Jews and Muslims in his administration. Nevertheless, upon Andrew's request, the Archbishop withdrew the ecclesiastic punishments soon and the Pope promised that the dignitaries of the King of Hungary would never be excommunicated without his special authorization.

On 20 August 1233, Andrew had a meeting with the legate of Pope Gregory IX in the woods of Bereg, and they made an agreement which ensured the privileges of the clergy. In the autumn of the year, he also met with Duke Frederick II of Austria and they agreed to stop the skirmishes on the border, but the Duke soon broke the agreement.

His last years[edit]

On 14 May 1234, Andrew, who had lost his second wife in the previous year, married Beatrice d'Este, who was thirty years younger than himself. Because of the new marriage, his relationship with his sons worsened.

In the summer of 1234, the Bishop John of Bosnia excommunicated Andrew because he had not respected some provisions of the Agreement of Bereg. Andrew appealed to the Pope against the bishop's measure. In the autumn of 1234, Prince Danylo laid siege to the capital of Andrew's youngest son who died during the siege. Thus, the Hungarian supremacy over Halych disappeared.

In the beginning of 1235, Andrew made a campaign against Austria and enforced Duke Frederick II to make a peace.

He was still alive when one of his daughters, Elisabeth, who had died some years before, was canonized on 28 May 1235. Before his death, he was absolved from the excommunication; moreover, the Pope also promised that the King of Hungary and his relatives would not be excommunicated without the special permission of the Pope.

Marriages and children[edit]

#1. around 1200: Gertrude of Merania (1185 – 8 September 1213), a daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania and his wife, Agnes of Wettin

#2. February 1215: Yolanda de Courtenay (c. 1200 – 1233), daughter of Peter I, Emperor of the Latin Empire and his second wife, Yolanda I, Empress of the Latin Empire

#3. 14 May 1234: Beatrice D'Este (c. 1215 – before 8 May 1245), daughter of Aldobrandino I D'Este and his wife



King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia and Lodomeria.[6]


  1. ^ Andrew II. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19 April 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
  2. ^ Alexander Mikaberidze: Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1 (page: 311)
  3. ^ Thomas Keightley, Dionysius Lardner: Outlines of history: from the earliest period to the present time (page: 210)
  4. ^ Kenneth M. Setton, Norman P. Zacour, Harry W. Hazard: A History of the Crusades: The Impact of the Crusades on the Near East (Page: 358)
  5. ^ (Jean Richard: The crusades, c 1071-c. 1291) page: 298.
  6. ^


  • 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)
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
Andrew II of Hungary
Born: c. 1177 Died: 21 September 1235
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Vladimir II Yaroslavich
Prince of Halych
Succeeded by
Vladimir II Yaroslavich
Preceded by
Ladislaus III
King of Hungary and Croatia
Succeeded by
Béla IV
Preceded by
Roman II Igorevich
Prince of Halych
Succeeded by
Vladimir III Igorevich