Ladislaus II of Hungary

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Ladislaus II
Chronicon Pictum P121 A korona elrablása.JPG
Ladislaus II stealing the Holy Crown of Hungary, from Chronicon Pictum P121.
King of Hungary
Reign 1162–1163
Coronation 1162
Predecessor Stephen III
Successor Stephen IV
House House of Arpad
Father Béla II of Hungary
Mother Helena of Raška
Born 1131
Died 1163

Ladislaus II (Hungarian: II. László, Croatian: Ladislav II., Slovak: Ladislav II.) (1131 – 14 January 1163), King of Hungary.[1] As a younger son, he was able to ascend to the throne only with the assistance of the Byzantine Empire against his nephew, King Stephen III after his brother's death. Although the majority of the Hungarian nobles accepted his rule based on the tradition that gave precedence to the eldest male member of the royal family ahead of the deceased king's son, the head of the Catholic Church in Hungary did not accept the legitimacy of his rule.

Early years[edit]

Ladislaus was the second son of King Béla II of Hungary and his wife, Helena of Raška. He was only a baby when his mother introduced him and his brother, Géza, to the barons assembled in Arad in order to persuade them to massacre her husband's opponents, which he did at the age of 4.

After the occupation of Bosnia, his father named Ladislaus the duke of the province in 1137, although the province was governed by the administrators appointed by the king. When King Béla II died on 13 February 1141, Ladislaus' brother, Géza II, ascended the throne. In 1152, the king organised a separated ducal household for Ladislaus and their younger brother, Stephen.

Géza II wanted to ensure the succession of his son Stephen; consequently, his relationship with his brothers deteriorated. In 1157, Duke Stephen tried to organise a conspiracy against the king supported by their maternal uncle, Beloš, but Géza overcame them and Duke Stephen fled to the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos. In 1159, Stephen again conspired against Géza II but, following his failure, he joined Ladislaus in Constantinople.

In the imperial court of Constantinople, Ladislaus, in contrast to his brother, did not want to surrender totally to Manuel I Komnenos, and he refused to marry a niece of the Emperor.

King of Hungary[edit]

When the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos was informed that King Géza II had died on 31 May 1162 and his son Stephen III had been crowned, he decided to begin a campaign against Hungary in order to have his niece's husband, Duke Stephen, ascend the throne. On hearing the Emperor's demand, the Hungarian barons sent an embassy to his camp and offered to accept Ladislaus' rule pursuant to the Hungarian custom which gave precedence to the eldest male member of the royal family over a deceased king's son. The Emperor accepted the barons' offer and sent Ladislaus to Hungary.

By the time Ladislaus arrived in Székesfehérvár, his nephew, King Stephen III, had escaped to Pozsony, and Ladislaus was proclaimed king. However, Lukas, Archbishop of Esztergom, who remained loyal to the young king, denied Ladislaus' coronation; therefore he was crowned by Mikó, Archbishop of Kalocsa in July 1162. On the occasion of his coronation, Ladislaus granted Tercia pars Regni (i.e., one third of the Kingdom of Hungary) to his brother, Stephen.

As Archbishop Lukas still denied the legitimacy of Ladislaus' rule and excommunicated him, Ladislaus had the Archbishop arrested. Ladislaus set Archbishop Lukas free on 25 December 1162, at the request of Pope Alexander III, but the prelate did not want to absolve the king.

Ladislaus may have died of poisoning and was buried in Székesfehérvár. In medieval times, he was not counted as a king (being only an anti-king), so Ladislaus III was also counted as Ladislaus II in the 13th century.

The terms Nobilissimus (most noble) and nobilissima familia (most noble family) have been used since the 11th century for the King of Hungary and his family, but it were then only a few, among them also Ladislaus II, which were mentioned in official documents as such.

Marriage and daughter[edit]

# ?: Unknown

  • Maria (? – ?), wife of Niccolò Michieli, patrician of Venice



King of Hungary, King of Croatia (1162–1163), Ban of Bosnia (1137–1159)


  1. ^ Hungary. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 16, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:


  • Engel, Pat. Realm of St. Stephen : A History of Medieval Hungary, 2001
  • 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)
  • G. Vég, Magyarország királyai és királynői, Maecenas, 1990.
  • Magyarország Történeti Kronológiája I. – A kezdetektől 1526-ig, főszerkesztő: Benda Kálmán (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1981)
  • (primary source) The Hungarian Illuminated Chronicle, A. West, trans., Corvina, 1969.
  • (primary source) John Kinnamos, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, C.M. Brand, trans., Columbia University Press, 1976.
Ladislaus II of Hungary
Born: 1131 Died: 14 January 1163
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stephen III
King of Hungary
Succeeded by
Stephen IV
Last known title holder:
Stephen Vojislavljević
as knez
Duke of Bosnia
Title next held by
as ban