Emeric, King of Hungary
Emeric's royal seal
|King of Hungary and Croatia|
|Coronation||16 May 1182|
|Spouse||Constance of Aragon|
|Issue||Ladislaus III of Hungary|
|Father||Béla III of Hungary|
|Mother||Agnes of Antioch|
|Died||30 November 1204 (aged 29–30)|
Emeric, also Imre (Hungarian: Imre, Croatian: Emerik, Slovak: Imrich; 1174 – 30 November 1204), was King of Hungary and Croatia between 1196 and 1204. His father, Béla III of Hungary, had him crowned king in 1184, and appointed him to rule Croatia and Dalmatia around 1195. Emeric mounted the throne after the death of his father. He spent the first years of his reign fighting against his rebellious brother, Andrew, who forced Emeric to grant him Croatia and Dalmatia as an appanage.
Emeric cooperated with the Holy See against the "heretic" Patarenes in Bosnia. Taking advantage of a civil war, he expanded his suzerainty over Serbia. On the other hand, he could not prevent the Republic of Venice from seizing Zadar in Dalmatia and could not impede the rise of Bulgaria along the southern frontiers of his kingdom. Emeric was the first Hungarian monarch to use the "Árpád stripes" as his personal coat-of-arms and to adopt the title of King of Serbia.
Early life (1174–1196)
Emeric was the eldest child of Béla III of Hungary and his first wife, Agnes of Antioch. His tutor was an Italian priest, Bernard. Upon the initiative of Béla III, who wanted to demonstrate his son's indisputable right to succeede him, Nicholas, Archbishop of Esztergom crowned the eight-year-old Emeric king on 16 May 1182. He was betrothed to Agnes, a daughter of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, but she died in 1184. Béla III appointed Emeric to administer Croatia and Dalmatia in about 1195.
Struggles with his brother (1196–1200)
Emeric succeeded his father, who died on 23 April 1196, without opposition. Their father had bequeathed estates and money to Emeric's younger brother, Andrew, stipulating that Andrew should lead a crusade to the Holy Land. Instead, Andrew turned against Emeric, demanding a separate duchy for himself in 1197. The united forces of Andrew and Leopold VI, Duke of Austria routed Emeric's troops at Mački in Slavonia at the end of the year. Emeric was forced to grant Croatia and Dalmatia, with the title of duke, as an appanage to his younger brother in early 1198.
Andrew continued conspiring against Emeric, although Pope Innocent III kept urging him to depart for a crusade. Emeric forced Boleslaus, Bishop of Vác, who was his brother's supporter, to hand documents proving the conspiracy over to him on 10 March 1199. In summer Emeric defeated his rebellious brother's army near Lake Balaton, compelling Andrew to flee to Austria. A papal legate, named Gregory, arrived in Hungary to mediate a reconciliation between the two brothers. According to their treaty, Emeric again granted Croatia and Dalmatia to Andrew in summer 1200.
Wars in the Balkans (1200–1203)
Emeric was deeply involved in the affairs of the Balkan Peninsula from around 1200. Pope Innocent also stimulated his interest, urging him, on 11 October 1200, to take measures to liquidate the "heretics" in Bosnia. Upon Emeric's demand, the Pope denied to sent a royal crown to Stephen Nemanjić, Grand Prince of Serbia. Emeric invaded Serbia in 1201 or 1202, assisting Stephen Nemanjić's brother, Vukan in seizing the throne. In token of his suzerainty in Serbia, Emeric was the first Hungarian monarch to adopt the title of King of Serbia in 1202. He was also the first King to use a royal seal depicting the so-called "Árpád stripes", which eventually became part of the Coat of arms of Hungary, in 1202.
In summer 1202 Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, concluded a treaty with the leaders of the Fourth Crusade who agreed to assist the Venetians to recapture Zadar, a town in Dalmatia, which had since 1186 accepted the Hungarian monarchs' suzerainty. Although Pope Innocent III forbade the crusaders to besiege Zadar, they seized the town on 24 November and granted it to the Venetians. Upon Emeric's request the Pope excommunicated the Venetians and the Crusaders, but Zadar remained under Venetian rule.
In fear of a crusade by Emeric, Kulin, Ban of Bosnia, held a synod at Bilino Polje on 6 April 1203. The synod acknowledged papal primacy and ordered the reform of the rites. In short, Ban Kulin also acknowledged Emeric's suzerainty. In a letter of 1203 Kaloyan, Tzar of Bulgaria, informed Pope Innocent that Emeric had occupied five districts in Bulgaria, demanding the Pope's intervention in their conflict. On the other hand, Kaloyan launched a successful campaign against Emeric's protegee, Vukan, in Serbia.
Last years (1203–1204)
Duke Andrew rose up in open rebellion against Emeric in autumn 1203. Their armies met at Varaždin on the river Dráva in October. Emeric walked into his brother's campn unarmed, stating "Now I shall see who will dare to raise a hand to shed the blood of the royal lineage!", according to the nearly contemporaneous Thomas the Archdeacon. Nobody dared to stop him, thus he approached his bother and seized him without resistance. Duke Andrew was held in captivity for months, but his supporters released him in early 1204.
Taking advantage of the civil war in Hungary, Kaloyan invaded and captured Belgrade, Barancs (now Braničevo in Serbia), and other fortresses. Emeric made preparations for a campaign against Bulgaria, but he disbanded his army upon Pope Innocent's demand. The Pope, who had been negotiating with Kaloyan about a Church union, sent a royal crown to him, but Emeric imprisoned the papal legate who was delivering the crown to Bulgaria through Hungary.
Having fallen seriously ill, Emeric had his four-year-old son, Ladislaus, crowned king on 26 August 1204. In short, he released the papal legate. He was also reconciled with his brother, "entrusting to him the guardianship of his son and the administration of the entire kingdom until the ward should reach the age of majority", according to Thomas the Archdeacon. Emeric died "on 30 November", according to the Illuminated Chronicle. He was buried in the cathedral of Eger.
|Ancestors of Emeric of Hungary|
Emeric's wife, Constance, was the daughter of King Alfonso II of Aragon. Their marriage took place between around 1196 and 1200. Their only known child, Ladislaus, was born around 1200 and died on 7 May 1205. Queen Constance, who survived both her husband and their son, eventually became the first wife of the future Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Emeric of Hungary.|
Emeric, King of HungaryBorn: 1174 Died: 30 November 1204
Title last held byBéla
|Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia
Title next held byAndrew
|King of Hungary and Croatia