Coloman of Galicia

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Coloman statue in Gödöllő.

Coloman of Galicia (Hungarian: Kálmán, Ukrainian: Коломан) (1208 – 1241) was a member of the Árpád dynasty. He was Prince of Halych (1214–15) and he became the first anointed and crowned King of Galicia–Volhynia (rex Galiciae et Lodomeriae) (1215–19), followed by prince Andrew of Hungary (1219–21). During the second half of his life, he was Duke of Slavonia (1226–41).

Early life[edit]

Coloman was the second son of Andrew II of Hungary and his first wife, Gertrude of Merania.[1] Andrew was still a child when his father (Coloman's grandfather), Béla III of Hungary, placed him on the throne of the newly conquered Principality of Halych in 1188.[2] His subjects expelled him in 1189[3] or 1190, because the Hungarian soldiers did not respect the locals' Orthodox faith.[2]

Andrew never abandoned his claim to Halych.[2] After Roman Mstislavich, who had united the principalities of Vladimir-in-Vohynia and Halych under his rule, died fighting the Poles in 1205, Andrew regularly intervened in the conflicts for the rule of the two principalities.[4][5] He adopted the title of "King of Galicia and Lodomeria" in token of his claim to both principalities before 1208.[6][7] Initially, Andrew supported Roman Mstislavich's minor sons, Daniel and Vasilko, against Vladimir Igorevich and his brothers, who also claimed Halych.[4]

Meanwhile Coloman's mother vigorously promoted the career of her German kinsmen and courtiers in Hungary, outraging the native lords.[6] Shortly after Andrew departed for a new military campaign against Halych, a group of Hungarian noblemen murdered the queen in September 1213.[8] After learning of his wife's murder, Andrew returned from his campaign, but appointed the Galician boyar Vladislav Kormilichich to lead the Hungarian army to Halych.[9] Kormilichich took control of the principality, but Daniel Romanovich sought assistance from Leszek the White, Duke of Poland.[10] Daniel and Leszek broke into Halych and defeated Kormilichich, but they could not occupy the principality.[11] In retaliation for the Polish attack, Andrew made a raid against Poland, reaching as far as Kraków.[10]

In a letter to Pope Innocent III, Andrew stated that Galician boyars had proposed him to grant Halych to Coloman.[12] According to the Galician–Volhynian Chronicle, Leszek the White was the first to suggest the same idea, also proposing his daughter, Salomea, to Coloman.[13] Andrew and Leszek had a meeting in Szepes (Spiš in Slovakia) in autumn 1214.[13] They agreed about the marriage of Coloman and Salomea and decided that the couple would rule Halych, but Leszek would seize two western Galician towns, Przemyśl and Lubaczów.[14] The Hungarian and Polish armies invaded the principality and put an end to Vladislav Kormilichich's rule before the end of the year.[15]

[Andrew II] marched against [Leszek the White] whom [Daniel Romanovich] was visiting at that time. [Thereupon Leszek] sent his envoy Lestič and the boyar Pakoslav [to Andrew] with the [following] message: "It is not proper for a boyar to reign in [Halych]; marry my daughter to your son [Coloman] and let him rule in [Halych]. [Andrew] liked Pakoslav's [advice]. He held council with [Leszek] in [Szepes] and took [Leszek's] daughter for his son.

— Galician–Volhynian Chronicle

Ruler of Halych[edit]

The Principality of Halych and its neighbors

Coloman was installed in Halych soon after the fall of Kormilichich.[14] Since Coloman was a minor, Benedict the Bald was appointed to administer the principality.[15] Andrew sent a letter to Pope Innocent, requesting him to authorize the Archbishop of Esztergom to anoint Coloman as king.[15][16] In the next letter, Andrew thanked the pope for giving consent to Coloman's coronation, but also informed him that a riot had broken out against Coloman and the rebels laid siege to Halych.[17] Andrew urged Innocent to send a legate and a golden crown to Coloman to strengthen the legitimacy of his rule, especially with regard the neighboring princes.[18]

Pope Honorius III mentioned in a letter in 1222 that the Archbishop of Esztergom had crowned Coloman "with the blessing of the Holy See", but the circumstances of the ceremony are unknown.[19][20] Historian Karol Hollý says, Coloman was most probably crowned twice.[19] At the first ceremony, which was performed shortly after Coloman mounted the throne, a provisional crown was put on his head.[19] The second ceremony was performed with the crown sent by the pope.[19] Historian Tibor Almási writes that Coloman was first anointed, and he was only once crowned, in early 1216, with the crown that Pope Innocent III had sent to him.[1]

The relationship between Andrew and Leszek the White became tense.[15] Historian Márta Font says, that their relationship deteriorated after Leszek granted Vladimir-in-Vohynia to Daniel and Vasilko Romanovich.[15] On the other hand, historian Ðura Hardi writes that the Romanovichi received the town in accordance with the Szepes agreement.[13] The Hungarian army broke into western Galicia and captured Przemyśl and Lubaczów in late 1215 or early 1216.[20] Leszek the White approached Mstislav Mstislavich, Prince of Novgorod, seeking his assistance against the Hungarians.[20]

The reconstruction of the ensuing events is difficult, because their dating is uncertain.[20][21] Mstislav invaded Halych between 1216 and 1219, forcing Coloman, Benedict the Bald and a boyar Sudislav to flee to Hungary.[22][23] Mstislav gave his daughter, Anna, in marriage to Daniel Romanovich who broke into Poland.[24] Outraged by Daniel's attack, Leszek the White made a new alliance with Andrew II.[23][25] After their united forces defeated Mstislav's army in three battles, Mstislav and Daniel fled from Halych in late autumn 1219, which enabled Coloman to return to his realm.[23][26]

Mstislav hired Cumans and again invaded Halych in late 1220 or early 1221, but could not capture the capital.[23][23] His fiasco encouraged File, the commander of the Hungarian army in Halych, to join Leszek the White's campaign against Volhynia, leaving Coloman and Salomea in the newly fortified Church of the Virgin Mary in the castle of their capital.[23][26] Taking advantage of the absence of the bulk of the Hungarian army, Mstislav and his Cuman allies laid siege Halych in summer 1221.[note 1][23][27] File hurried back from his campaign, but Mstislav defeated his army and he could only fled with the help of a Galician boyar, Zhiroslav.[23][26] Coloman's retainers tried to resist in the fortified church, but the lack of water forced them to surrender.[26] The Polish chronicler, Jan Długosz, wrote that Coloman and Salomea were imprisoned in the fort of Torchesk.[26]

Internal strifes in Hungary prevented Coloman's father from launching a military expedition against Mstislav.[23][28] Andrew entered into negotiations with Mstislav and they reached a compromise.[23][28] According to the agreement, Coloman was to renounce the title of King of Halych, but Mstislav agreed to give his daughter, Maria, in marriage to Coloman's younger brother, Andrew, to whom Coloman's royal title would be transferred.[23][28]

[Princes] Mstislav and [ Volodimir ] went from Kiev to [Halych] against the King's son, and the men of [Halych] came out against them and [Czechs] and [Poles], Moravians and Hungarians, and the forces came together. And God helped Mstislav, and he entered the town of [Halych] and they took with their hands the King's son and his wife, and he took peace with the King, and let go his son, and himself took his seat in [Halych] and [Volodimir] in Kiev.

— The Chronicle of Novgorod

In Hungary[edit]

After his release in late 1221 or early 1222, Coloman returned to Hungary.[23] His father soon approached Pope Honorius III, asking him to invalidate his agreement with Mstislav.[28] The pope only cancelled the provision about the transfer of Coloman's royal title to his younger brother, because the pope preserved the right to decide about coronations.[28] Coloman styleed himself "King of Galicia" till the end of his life, although he never returned to Halych.[28] He and his wife settled in Szepes, near the Hungarian-Galician border.[28][29] A late source (a 1279 letter of Elizabeth the Cuman) mentioned that Coloman had held Szepes till the end of his life.[28]

Duke of Slavonia[edit]

In the first half of 1226, his father entrusted him with the government of Slavonia, Croatia and Dalmatia, provinces governed since 1220 by his elder brother, Béla. Coloman cooperated with his brother who had been endeavouring to take back the royal domains their father had granted to his followers, but their policy was opposed by their father. In his province, Coloman confiscated some possessions his father had granted to the Knights Templar. In 1231, Coloman granted privileges to Vukovar (Hungarian: Valkóvár). Coloman, similarly to his brother, opposed his father's third marriage with Beatrice d'Este and following the death of King Andrew II (21 September 1235) they accused their young stepmother of adultery.[citation needed]

Pope Gregory IX persuaded him to pursue the heretics in his provinces and in the adjacent territories; therefore he invaded and occupied Bosnia and Zachlumia but he could not wind up Bogomilism. He supported the establishment of the Diocese of Bosnia and he granted Đakovo (Hungarian: Diakóvár) to its bishop. When he was informed that the Mongols invaded the kingdom, he joined to his brother's troops. However, their troops were defeated at the Battle of Mohi (11 April 1241). Coloman suffered serious wounds and died of his injuries a few weeks after the battle.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Historian Martin Dimnik writes, Mstislav captured Coloman in both 1219 and 1221. (Dimnik (2003), pp. 290-291.


  1. ^ a b Almási 1994, p. 316.
  2. ^ a b c Engel 2001, p. 54.
  3. ^ Font 1991, p. 120.
  4. ^ a b Font 1991, pp. 121-122.
  5. ^ Engel 2001, pp. 54, 89.
  6. ^ a b Engel 2001, p. 90.
  7. ^ Font 1991, p. 122.
  8. ^ Engel 2001, p. 91.
  9. ^ Barabás 2016, pp. 90-91.
  10. ^ a b Barabás 2016, p. 91.
  11. ^ Hollý 2007, p. 11.
  12. ^ Hollý 2007, pp. 11-12.
  13. ^ a b c Hollý 2007, p. 12.
  14. ^ a b Barabás 2016, p. 92.
  15. ^ a b c d e Font 1991, p. 126.
  16. ^ Hollý 2007, p. 15.
  17. ^ Hollý 2007, p. 16.
  18. ^ Hollý 2007, pp. 16, 17.
  19. ^ a b c d Hollý 2007, p. 17.
  20. ^ a b c d Font 1991, p. 127.
  21. ^ Hollý 2007, pp. 20-22.
  22. ^ Hollý 2007, pp. 20-21.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Font 1991, p. 128.
  24. ^ Hollý 2007, p. 21.
  25. ^ Dimnik 2003, p. 290.
  26. ^ a b c d e Hollý 2007, p. 22.
  27. ^ Dimnik 2003, p. 291.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h Hollý 2007, p. 23.
  29. ^ Barabás 2016, p. 96.


  • Almási, Tibor (1994). "Kálmán 2.". In Kristó, Gyula; Engel, Pál; Makk, Ferenc. Korai magyar történeti lexikon (9–14. század) [Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History (9th–14th centuries)] (in Hungarian). Akadémiai Kiadó. p. 316. ISBN 963-05-6722-9. 
  • Barabás, Gábor (2016). "Coloman of Galicia and his Polish Relations. The Duke of Slavonia as Protector of Widowed Duchesses". In Bagi, Dániel; Barabás, Gábor; Máté, Zsolt. Hungaro–Polonica: Young Scholars on Medieval Polish–Hungarian Relations. Történészcéh Egyesület. pp. 89–117. ISBN 978-963-12-7382-3. 
  • Dimnik, Martin (2003). The Dynasty of Chernigov, 1146–1246. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-03981-9. 
  • Engel, Pál (2001). The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895–1526. I.B. Tauris Publishers. ISBN 1-86064-061-3. 
  • Font, Márta (1991). "II. András orosz politikája és hadjáratai [Andrew II's policy and campaigns in Rus']". Századok (in Hungarian). 125 (1-2): 107–144k. ISSN 0039-8098. 
  • Hollý, Karol (2007). "Princess Salomea and Hungarian–Polish Relations in the Period 1214–1241" (PDF). Historický Časopis. 55 (Supplement): 5–32. ISSN 0018-2575. 

External links[edit]

Coloman of Galicia
Born: 1208 Died: May 1241
Regnal titles
Preceded by
as Prince of Halych
King of Galicia–Volhynia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Béla IV of Hungary
Duke of Slavonia
Succeeded by
Stephen V of Hungary