Emeric, King of Hungary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Emeric of Hungary" redirects here. For the Hungarian prince and saint who died 1031, see Saint Emeric of Hungary.
Imre király.jpg
King of Hungary and Croatia
Reign 23 April 1196 – 30 September/30 November 1204
Coronation 16 May 1182
Predecessor Béla III
Successor Ladislaus III
Spouse Constance of Aragon
Issue Ladislaus III of Hungary
Dynasty Árpád dynasty
Father Béla III of Hungary
Mother Agnes of Antioch
Born c. 1174
Died 30 September/30 November 1204 (aged 29–30)

Emeric I (Hungarian: I. Imre, Croatian: Emerik I. /Mirko, Slovak: Imrich I.), (1174 – 30 September/30 November 1204), King of Hungary[1] and Croatia (1182–1204). He was crowned during his father's lifetime, but after his father's death he had to fight against his brother, Andrew, who forced Emeric to assign the government of Croatia and Dalmatia to him. Emeric intervened in the internal struggles of the neighbouring countries and assisted the missionary work of the papal legates among the Bogumils of Bosnia. During his reign, the Doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, managed to persuade the leaders of the Fourth Crusade to occupy and take Zára from Hungary.

Crown prince[edit]

Emeric was the eldest son of King Béla III of Hungary and his first wife, Agnes of Antioch. His father had Emeric crowned on 16 May 1182 in order to ensure his succession. Emeric was betrothed to Agnes, the daughter of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, but her premature death in 1184 prevented their marriage.

Emeric was crowned again in 1194, and his father appointed him as Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia. In his last will, King Béla III left his kingdom undivided to Emeric, while his younger son, Andrew, inherited a large amount of money in order to fulfill his father's Crusader oath.

Emeric's personal Coat of Arms


Struggles with his brother[edit]

Coronation of Emeric (Illuminated Chronicle)

On 23 April 1196, King Béla III died and Emeric ascended the throne. Shortly afterwards, Emeric and his brother Andrew began to quarrel, because the latter used the money he had inherited from his father to recruit followers among the barons. Duke Andrew also sought the assistance of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, and they defeated Emeric in the Battle of Mecsek in December 1197. Following the battle, Emeric had to transfer the government of the Duchies of Croatia and Dalmatia to his brother. Emeric married Infanta Constance of Aragon probably in 1198.

However, Duke Andrew continued his conspiracies against Emeric. The king could count on the support of Pope Innocent III who continuously tried to persuade the duke to fulfill his father's last will and organize a Crusade. The discordance in the royal family forced both the king and his brother to grant significant donations from the royal estates and revenues. For example, Emeric granted a tithe of the royal revenues to the Archbishop of Esztergom and he also transferred the royal palace in Esztergom to him.

In the beginning of 1199, Emeric was informed that Bishop Boleslaus of Vác had been conspiring with Duke Andrew against him; therefore he went to Vác and personally arrested the bishop on 10 March. Afterwards, he deprived his brother's partisans (e.g. Palatine Mog) of their dignities. In the summer of 1199, in the Battle of Rád, Emeric would defeat his brother, who had to flee to Austria. The two brothers made peace with the mediation of the Papal Legate Gregory, and Duke Andrew was granted the government of Croatia and Dalmatia again.

Wars in the Balkans[edit]

In the Grand Principality of Serbia, Stefan Nemanja abdicates in 1196, giving the rule to his middle son Stefan II, while his eldest son and previous heir presumptive Vukan continues to rule his appanage on the Adriatic coast. While Nemanja was still alive, Vukan did not openly oppose the rule of Stefan II, but as soon as Nemanja died (1200), Vukan began plotting. At the same time, persuaded by Pope Innocent III, who wanted to suppress Bogomilism in the Balkans, Emeric, in 1201, joined up with Vukan and aided him in the coup against Stefan II. The coup was successful, Stefan II fled to Bulgaria and Vukan became the Grand Prince. Emeric gains a county west of the Morava river, and puts Vukan under his nominal rule, taking the title "King of Serbia".

Emeric then defeats Ban Kulin of Bosnia who had been supporting the Bogumils in his province. On 8 April 1203, Ban Kulin of Bosnia declared solemnly his allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and confirmed his fidelity to the King of Hungary. In 1203, Emeric hindered Cardinal Leo, who was carrying the royal crown Pope Innocent III had bestowed on Kaloyan of Bulgaria, in Hungary.

In 1202 or 1203, Emeric launched an unsuccessful campaign against Kaloyan of Bulgaria, who was supporting Stefan II to reconquer Serbia. The conflicts took place in the frontiers of Serbia and Bulgaria, the Hungarian army subsequently retreated from Braničevo and Vukan from Niš, and by 1204 Stefan II had returned, pushing Vukan to his maritime appanage, ruling undisputedly.

Feud in Dalmatia[edit]

In the meantime, a new conflict was emerging, when the city of Zára in Dalmatia, formerly under the protection of the Republic of Venice, recognised Emeric as overlord in 1201. Doge Enrico Dandolo managed to persuade the leaders of the Fourth Crusade to take the city on behalf of the Serenìssima on 24 November 1202, despite the prohibition of Pope Innocent III. At Emeric's request the pope excommunicated the Venetians and the Crusaders, but the Hungarian troops could not reoccupy the city. The Dalmatians separated from Hungary by a treaty.[2]

Last years[edit]

In 1203, Duke Andrew began to conspire against Emeric again; therefore the king lead his armies to his brother's duchies. Emeric, when he realised that the duke's troops outnumbered his armies, went unarmed, wearing only the crown and the sceptre, to his brother's camp near Varasd and the duke surrendered voluntarily on the spur of the scene. Emeric had his brother arrested, but Duke Andrew managed to escape shortly afterwards.

Emeric, who had become more and more ill, had his young son, Ladislaus, crowned on 26 August 1204. He then reconciled with his brother, whom he appointed to govern the kingdom during his son's minority.

Emeric was buried in the Cathedral of Eger.

Marriage and child[edit]

# c. 1198: Infanta Constance of Aragon (c. 1179 – 23 June 1222), daughter of King Alfonso II of Aragon and his wife, Infanta Sancha of Castile



When Emeric died, his infant son briefly became king but died in 1205. Emeric's brother Andrew became king. Constance, meanwhile, fled to Vienna and eventually married the Emperor Frederick II.


  1. ^ Emeric. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 May 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/185757/Emeric
  2. ^ cit: Hunc iste, postquam Dalmatae pacto hoc a Hungaria separati se non tulissent, revocatum contra Emericum armis vindicavit, ac Chelmensi Ducatu, ad mare sito, parteque Macedoniae auxit. AD 1199. Luc. lib. IV. cap. III. Diplomata Belae IV. AD 1269.


  • 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)
  • Ostrogorski, Georgjie. History of the Byzantine State, 1986
  • Magyarország Történeti Kronológiája I. – A kezdetektől 1526-ig, főszerkesztő: Benda Kálmán (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1981)
Emeric, King of Hungary
Born: c. 1174 Died: 30 September/30 November 1204
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Béla III
King of Hungary and Croatia
Succeeded by
Ladislaus III
Preceded by
Stephen II
King of Serbia