Gyula III

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King St. Stephen captures Gyula (Chronicon Pictum)

Gyula III,[1] also Gyula the Younger,[2] Geula[2] or Gyla,[3] was an early medieval ruler who apparently ruled in Transylvania[2] (c. 980[1] - 1003/1004[3]). His actual name was probably Prokui,[1] yet Prokui cannot possibly be the same as Gyula.[2][clarification needed] Around 1003, he and his family were attacked, dispossessed and captured by King Stephen I of Hungary (1000/1001-1038).[2] The name "Gyula" also means a title. "Gyula" meant the second highest title in Hungarian tribal confederation.[4]


According to the anonymous writer of the Gesta Ungarorum (“The Deeds of the Hungarians) written around 1210, Gyula the Younger (Geula/Gyla) was the son of Zombor (Zubor), and the latter was the grandson of Tétény (Tuhutum), one of the seven Hungarian conqueror chiefs, who had occupied Transylvania.[1] The Chronicon Pictum (“Illuminated Chronicle”) writes that “the third Gyula” descended from “Captain Gyula”, the conqueror of Transylvania.[1]

One view is that Transylvania in the 10th century seems to have been an independent principality which was governed by a line of princes who were invariably called Gyula; they were the successors, and perhaps also the descendants, of the gyula who had been the military leader of the Hungarian tribal federation at the time of the conquest of the Carpathian Basin.[5] Other view is that the family of the gyulas moved to Transylvania only after 970.[1] The Romanian historian Vlad Georgescu argues that Gyula (Gyla) seems to have been of Pecheneg origin, since Byzantine sources speak of the existence of a Petcheneg tribe called Gylas; a life of the monarch-saint Stephen I also mentions battles with Pechenegs in the heart of Transylvania.[3]

Before he could be crowned king of Hungary in title and in fact, the young Prince Stephen, whose mother was Gyula’s sister according to the almost contemporary Annales Hildesheimenses (“The Annals of Hildesheim”),[1] had to battle to overcome rebellious lords led by, among others, his relative and rival Koppány.[6] The Chronicon Pictum ("Illuminated Chronicle") narrates that[1] Stephen inflicted a devastating defeat upon Koppány whose corpse was quartered.[7] One quarter of Koppány’s body was delivered to Gyula at his Alba Iulia (in Hungarian, Gyulafehérvár ‘Gyula’s White Castle’)[1] residence in Transylvania.[7] This quarter of the corpse was pinned to the gate of Alba Iulia.[1]

In 1003 (maybe in 1002[2] or 1004[3]), Stephen, who had been crowned in 1000 or 1001, personally led his army against his maternal uncle, and Gyula surrendered without a fight.[6] The Romanian historian Florin Curta suggests that the only contemporary source to mention Stephen’s attack against “rex Geula” is the Annales Hildesheimenses.[2] On the other hand, Thietmar of Merseburg (975-1018) refers to another character (Procui) who was King Stephen’s uncle and whose land was occupied by the king.[8] Florin Curta argues that Procui cannot possibly be the same as Gyula: according to the 13-th century Gesta Ungarorum, Gyula was captured by King Stephen I and kept in prison for the rest of his life; by contrast, Procui was expelled from his estates, given back his wife, and later appointed warden of a frontier fort by King Boleslav I of Poland.[2] The name Procui is probably of Slavic origin.[8]

King Stephen of Hungary led an army against his maternal uncle, King Gyula; having captured him together with his wife and two sons, he obliged his country by force to adopt the Christian faith.

Annales Hildesheimenses[1]

Now, I have said enough regarding that matter, since I must still relate certain things regarding Duke Boleslav’s misfortune. The latter’s territory included a certain burg, located near the border with the Hungarians. Its guardian was lord Prokui, an uncle of the Hungarian king. Both in the past and more recently, Prokui had been driven from his lands by the king and his wife had been taken captive. When he was unable to free her, his nephew arranged for her unconditional release, even though he was Prokui’s enemy. I have never heard of anyone who showed such restraint towards a defeated foe.

—Thietmar of Merseburg: Chronicon[9]

Zumbor begat the younger Geula, father of Bua and Bucna, during whose time the holy King Stephen subjugated to himself the land of Transylvania and led Geula in fetters to Hungary and held him imprisoned for all the days of his life because he was false in faith and refused to be a Christian and did many things against the holy King Stephen, even though he was of the line of his mother.

—Anonymous: Gesta Ungarorum[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kristó, Gyula. Early Transylvania (895-1324). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Curta, Florin. Transylvania around A.D. 1000. 
  3. ^ a b c d Georgescu, Vlad. The Romanians: A History. 
  5. ^ Fügedi, Erik. The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526. 
  6. ^ a b Kontler, László. Millennium in Central Europe: A History of Hungary. 
  7. ^ a b Molnár, Miklós. A Concise History of Hungary. 
  8. ^ a b Kristó, Gyula (General Editor). Korai magyar történeti lexikon (9-14. század). 
  9. ^ Merseburg, Thietmar of. Chronicon. 
  10. ^ Martyn Rady (2008-07-19). "The Gesta Hungarorum of Anonymus, the Anonymous Notary of King Béla (a draft translation)". (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies). Retrieved 2009-11-17. 


  • Curta, Florin: Transylvania around A.D. 1000; in: Urbańczyk, Przemysław (Editor): Europe around the year 1000; Wydawn. DiG, 2001; ISBN 978-83-7181-211-8
  • Georgescu, Vlad (Author) – Calinescu, Matei (Editor) – Bley-Vroman, Alexandra (Translator): The Romanians – A History; Ohio State University Press, 1991, Columbus; ISBN 0-8142-0511-9
  • Fügedi, Erik: The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526; I. B. Tauris, 2001, London&New York; ISBN 1-85043-977-X
  • Kontler, László: Millennium in Central Europe: A History of Hungary; Atlantisz Publishing House, 1999, Budapest; ISBN 963-9165-37-9
  • Kristó, Gyula (General Editor) – Engel, Pál - Makk, Ferenc (Editors): Korai Magyar történeti lexikon (9-14. század) /Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History (9th-14th centuries)/; Akadémiai Kiadó, 1994, Budapest; ISBN 963-05-6722-9 (the entry “gyula” was written by Alfréd Márton, “Gyula” by Sándor László Tóth and László Szegfű, “Kézai Simon” by Tibor Almási)
  • Kristó, Gyula: Early Transylvania (895-1324); Lucidus Kiadó, 2003, Budapest; ISBN 963-9465-12-7
  • Merseburg, Thietmar of (Author) – Wagner, David A. (Translator): Chronicon; Manchester University Press, 2001, Manchester&New York; ISBN 0-7190-4926-1
  • Molnár, Miklós (Author) – Magyar, Anna (Translator): A Concise History of Hungary; Cambridge University Press, 2008, Cambridge&New York; ISBN 978-0-521-66736-4