Géza, son of Géza II of Hungary

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For other people of the same name, see Géza of Hungary.

Géza (1151–1210) was a Hungarian royal prince and the youngest son of the King Géza II of Hungary. Prince Géza was brother to the Kings Stephen III and Béla III of Hungary. He traveled to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade with an army of 2,000 Hungarian warriors.

Biography[edit]

Prince Géza was born in 1151, the fourth son of King Géza II of Hungary and his wife, Princess Euphrosyne of Kiev. After King Géza II died, there were several conflicts over the royal succession. Two brothers of King Géza II briefly seized the crown, reigning as Ladislaus II and Stephen IV of Hungary. The prince's elder brother was crowned Stephen III of Hungary after defeating his uncle in battle.

During the reign of Stephen III, the wars against the Byzantine empire continued. Byzantine emperor, Manuel I Komnenos, had previously competed with Géza II on many occasions, as he was determined to expand his influence over Hungary. Manuel I's mother was Saint Piroska of Hungary, daughter of Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary, and he always had a great interest in the internal affairs of Hungary. Manuel I and Stephen III eventually resolved this through a peace accord signed in 1163, in which the Hungarian King's younger brother Béla, was to be sent to Constantinople in surety. During Stephen III's rule, he kept his mother Euphrosyne, and his youngest brother, Prince Géza, at court.

After Stephen III's death in 1172, his next eldest brother, Prince Béla, was recalled from Constantinople to ascend the throne and forestall any attempt at accession by his younger brother, Prince Géza.

Within a few months, he was crowned Béla III of Hungary but faced opposition from his own mother, the Queen Dowager, and his brother, Prince Géza, who began conspiring against him to obtain the Crown of Hungary. After a couple of failed attempts, Béla III had them arrested. He imprisoned his mother, but Prince Géza fled to Leopold V, Duke of Austria to seek protection, whereupon the Austrian duke returned him to Hungary and the king imprisoned him again.

A year later, Prince Géza escaped once more, fleeing to Bohemia, but Soběslav II, Duke of Bohemia, also returned him to Béla III who imprisoned him again.

Prince Géza languished in prison from 1177 to 1189. Freedom arrived for him in 1189 due to preparations for the Third Crusade. That year, Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, arrived in Hungary and was received by King Béla III. Learning of Prince Géza's predicament, the German emperor asked Béla III to allow the imprisoned Géza to lead a small Hungarian army to the Crusade as an escort. Béla III allowed this, and 2000 Hungarian soldiers left for the Holy Land.

After the Third Crusade, and the death of the German emperor, Béla III ordered Géza and his men to return to Hungary, but the Prince and his guard decided to remain in the Holy Land. It is known that Géza took a Byzantine noblewoman as wife between 1190 and 1191. He had two sons by Princess Irene (descendant of Piroska): Geza (Alexios), a general in the Byzantine army, who is the ancestor of the Rubempre family, and Istvan (Stephen) who served on a crusade with Saint Louis IX of France in 1248. Stephen had a son, Andrew, a crusading knight based in Venice. Andrew and his sons Felix (ancestor of the Crouy-Chanel family) and Mark settled in France. Mark married Catherine Croy-Airaines, heiress to the Croy barony. From this union sprang the Croy family which is still extant.

While Prince Géza of Hungary did not succeed in becoming King of Hungary, his grandson Felix (son of Andrew) claimed the throne of Hungary in October and November of 1290. In addition, through the male posterity of Prince Géza (Ioannes/John) the Árpád dynasty's male line survives. Historians estimate that Géza died about 1210 because that was the last time he was mentioned by medieval chronicles.

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