Boris Kalamanos

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Boris Kalamanos (Kiev, c. 1114-1153/1154) was a pretender who claimed the Hungarian throne. He desperately tried to assert his claims with the assistance of Poland, the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, but he failed and died in exile.

His descent[edit]

Boris was the son of Euphemia of Kiev, queen of King Coloman of Hungary who had been caught in adultery and sent back to Kiev before her son's birth. Therefore, Boris was born in the court of his maternal grandfather, Grand Prince Vladimir II of Kiev and he was never recognised by King Coloman as his son.

Boris may have gone to the Kingdom of Hungary in 1128 when a group of aristocrats proclaimed a "Count Bors" king against King Stephen II (who was King Coloman's son and successor), but Boris identification with Count Boris is under debate. Nevertheless, King Stephen II managed to overcome the conspiracy and he was followed by his cousin, King Béla II the Blind who was crowned on 28 April 1131.

The pretender[edit]

Around 1130, Boris appeared in Constantinople, in the court of the Emperor John II Komnenos who granted him the honorary title panhypersebastos. Boris married one of the Emperor's relatives, Anna Dukaina.

When he realised that the emperor would not give him military assistance against King Béla II, he went to the court of King Boleslaus III of Poland who promised to assist him. Some Hungarian aristocrats also joined him, although King Béla II convoked an assembly in Hungary and ordered to murder all the participants who did not declare that Boris was a bastard. Shortly afterwards, King Boleslaus III invaded Hungary together with Boris, but their troops were defeated at the battle around the Sajó River (22 July 1132).

Boris did not give up his claim for the Hungarian throne, but he could try to assert his claim only in 1146 when he occupied Pressburg assisted by mercenaries whom King Conrad III of Germany provided to him. However, King Géza II of Hungary managed to bribe his mercenaries who surrendered. On 11 September, the young king defeated the troops of Margrave Henry II of Austria who had been assisting Boris.

His last years[edit]

Before July 1147, Boris joined the crusaders led by King Louis VII of France who were about passing through the Kingdom of Hungary. When King Géza II was informed that Boris had arrived to Hungary among the crusaders, he sought Boris' extradition. Although King Louis VII did not extradite Boris, but he was taken in custody to the Byzantine Empire.

Boris took part in the campaign of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos against the Kingdom of Hungary, and during the campaign he led an army pillaging the southern parts of the kingdom (around 1150). He was killed at a battle against the Pechenegs.

Marriage and children[edit]

#1128-1130 or 1141-1143: Anna Dukaina (?–?), a relative of the Byzantine Emperor John II Komnenos, who became nun Arete after his death

Sources[edit]

  • Kristó, Gyula (editor): Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon - 9-14. század (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History - 9-14th centuries); Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963-05-6722-9.