Nicholas II Garai

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Nicholas II Garai
Palatine of Hungary; Ban of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia
Ban of Croatia
Reign 1392 – 1394, 1394 – 1402
Predecessor Ivan Frankopan of Krk
Successor Ladislav Grđevački
Ban of Slavonia
Reign 1397 – 1402
Predecessor Detrik Bubek
Successor Ladislav Grđevački
Palatine of Hungary
Reign 1402 – 1433
Predecessor Detrik Bubek
Successor Máté III Pálóczy
Born 1367
Died 1433
Spouse Teodora Lazarević
Anna of Cilli
Issue Ladislaus Garai
Catherine Garai
House House of Garai
Father Nicholas I Garai

Nicholas II Garai (Hungarian: II. Garai Miklós, Croatian: Nikola II Gorjanski; 1367–1433) was the Palatine of Hungary from 1402 until 1433 and the ban of Macsó, Usora, , Slavonia, Croatia and Dalmatia. He also ruled over Braničevo, Syrmia, Bačka, Banat and Baranya regions through vassals. Together with his close ally Stibor of Stiboricz, he became one of the richest and most powerful nobles in Hungary for over 30 years. The valiant Nicholas II Garai governed over national matters as the factual Ruler of Hungary next to the King Sigismund. In 1416 Sigismund extended their armorial bearings showing the Order of the Dragon and the Order of the Scarf. He presented the patent to his brother-in-law.

Nicholas II's first wife was Theodora of Serbia, daughter of Prince Lazar of Serbia. In 1405, he married Anna of Cilli, sister of King Sigismund's second wife, Barbara of Cilli, thereby becoming brother-in-law of the King and Queen of Hungary. His granddaughter Anna was engaged to King Matthias Corvinus.

Early life[edit]

Nicholas was the son of Nicholas I Garai and his unnamed wife.[1][2] His father established the prestige and the wealth of the Garai family during the reign of Louis I of Hungary.[1] The year of Nicholas's birth is unknown, but he was born between the late 1350s and the middle of the 1360s.[2] His father arranged Nicholas's engagement to Helen, a daughter of Lazar of Serbia.[3]

Nicholas was present when his father died fighting against John Horváti and John of Palisna near their family seat, Gara (now Gorjani in Croatia), on 25 July 1386.[1][4] Horváti and Palisna had risen up against Louis I's daughter and successor, Mary, in favor of Ladislaus of Naples.[5] Nicholas became a staunch supporter of Mary's husband, Sigismund of Luxemburg, who was crowned King of Hungary on 31 March 1387.[1][6]


Ban of Macsó[edit]

Sigismund made Nicholas ban (or governor) of Macsó (now Mačva in Serbia).[7] The bans had traditionally also administered the nearby Bács, Baranya, Bodrog, Szerém and Valkó Counties.[8] He and Stephen Losonci, Ban of Szörény, joined their forces and routed Horváti near Cserög (now Čerević in Serbia), thus restoring the king's authority in the region.[9] In 1387, Nicholas was also made ispán (or head) of Verőce County.[7][10] He persuaded his father-in-law, Lazar of Serbia, to swear fealty to Sigismund in 1389, according to a royal charter issued almost two decades later.[11]

Situated near the southern frontiers, his estates were subjected to Ottoman raids, thus Nicholas wanted to seize new estates in the central territories of the Kingdom of Hungary.[12] At his initiative, Sigismund seized Pápa and the fortress of Somló in Transdanubia from Nicholas Zámbó in exchange for royal estates in 1389.[13] Nicholas soon persuaded the king to grant both domains to him and his brother, John, for their castle at Ivánkaszentgyörgy (Ivankovo, Croatia).[12][14] Since Nicholas could not secure the defence of the southern frontier, the king dismissed him, appointing Losonci to administer Macsó in 1390.[10] Before long, he regained the favor of the king who again made him ban of Macsó in 1393.[10] Sigismund transferred Nicholas from Macsó to Croatia and Dalmatia in 1394.[10][15] In May, a royal charter referred to him as the former ban of Macsó.[16]

Ban of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia[edit]

Nicholas was first styled as the ban of Croatia and Dalmatia in a royal diploma issued in December.[17] Historian Stanko Andrić proposes that the king promoted Nicholas to the new office most probably after the successful royal campaign against Bosnia in July.[17] Before the end of the year, Nicholas routed Vuk Vukčić whom Ladislaus of Naples had appointed to represent him as his ban in the two realms.[17] After his victory, the burghers of Split elected him the count of the town.[18]

Nicholas left Croatia and Dalmatia to join the king's invasion of Wallachia[18] in July 1395.[19] He and Peter Perényi commanded the rearguard during the withdrawal of the royal troops from Wallachia.[10] He spent several months in his estates before returning to Croatia.[18] He and John Szepesi, Bishop of Zagreb, jointly presided the sabor (or general assembly) in July 1396.[18]

Nicholas accompanied Sigismund to a large-scale military campaign against the Ottoman Empire in 1396.[10] The crusade ended with the Ottomans' great victory in the Battle of Nicopolis on 25 September,[19] but Nicholas was one of the few who could flee from the battlefield.[18] The king's defeat outraged Stephen II Lackfi, one of the noblemen whom Sigismund had appointed to rule the country during his absence.[20] He and his nephew approached Ladislaus of Naples, who had not abdicated his claim to Hungary.[21][22]

Nicholas came back from the crusade in the king's retinue.[21] They landed at Split in Dalmatia on 21 December 1396.[21] They put an end to the movements of the supporters of Ladislaus of Naples in the Dalmatian towns before hurrying to Križevci.[21] The two Lackfis were summoned to the town where they were captured and murdered on 27 February 1397.[21][18] Historian László Markó says, Nicholas and Hermann of Celje enticed them to come to Slavonia to facilitate their murder.[10] An other historian, Elemér Mályusz, emphasizes that the exact circumstances of the purge are unknown, but he proposes that John Kanizsai, Archbishop of Esztergom, was most probably its initiator.[12] After the "Bloody Sabor of Križevci" Sigismund made Nicholas Ban of Slavonia.[18]


Sigismund made him Palatine of Hungary in September 1402.[10]


Nicholas's first wife, Helen (born as Theodora), was the daughter of Lazar of Serbia and his wife, Milica, who was related to the Nemanjić dynasty.[3][25] The year of their marriage is unknown, but it must have taken place before 1389, because in that year Nicholas was already Lazar's son-in-law.[3][26] She gave birth to Nicholas's eldest son and namesake, and a daughter, Catherine.[27] Helen died before 1401.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Markó 2000, p. 219.
  2. ^ a b Árvai 2013, p. 104.
  3. ^ a b c Árvai 2013, p. 106.
  4. ^ Mályusz 1984, p. 19.
  5. ^ Mályusz 1984, p. 17.
  6. ^ Fine 1994, p. 397.
  7. ^ a b Engel 1996, p. 28.
  8. ^ Engel 1996, p. 27.
  9. ^ Markó 2000, pp. 219-220.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Markó 2000, p. 220.
  11. ^ Árvai 2013, pp. 106-107.
  12. ^ a b c Mályusz 1984, p. 36.
  13. ^ Mályusz 1984, p. 35.
  14. ^ Engel 1996, p. 414.
  15. ^ Engel 1996, p. 29.
  16. ^ Andrić 2015, p. 484.
  17. ^ a b c Andrić 2015, pp. 484, 546.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Andrić 2015, pp. 485, 547.
  19. ^ a b Engel 2001, p. 203.
  20. ^ Mályusz 1984, pp. 36-37.
  21. ^ a b c d e Mályusz 1984, p. 37.
  22. ^ Engel 2001, p. 204.
  23. ^ Árvai 2013, p. 118.
  24. ^ Fügedi 2004, p. 166.
  25. ^ Fine 1994, pp. 374, 389.
  26. ^ Fine 1994, p. 389.
  27. ^ a b Árvai 2013, p. 107.


  • Andrić, Stanko (2015). "A Garai főnemesi család és a Horvát Királyság / Velikaška obitelj Gorjanski i Hrvatsko Kraljevstvo [The aristocratic Garai family and the Kingdom of Croatia]". In Fodor, Pál; Sokcsevits, Dénes; Turkalj, Jasna; Karbić, Damir. A horvát-magyar együttélés fordulópontjai: Intézmények, társadalom, gazdaság, kultúra / Prekretnice u suživotu Hrvata i Mađara: Ustanove, društvo, gospodarstvo i kultura [Turning Points of the Croatian-Hungarian Co-habitation: Institutions, Society, Economy and Culture] (in Hungarian and Croatian). MTA Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont Történettudományi Intézet, Hrvatski institut za povijest. pp. 481–492, 543–554. ISBN 978-963-416-019-9. 
  • Árvai, Tünde (2013). "A házasságok szerepe a Garaiak hatalmi törekvéseiben [The role of marriages in the Garais' attempts to rise]". In Fedeles, Tamás; Font, Márta; Kiss, Gergely. Kor-Szak-Határ (in Hungarian). Pécsi Tudományegyetem. pp. 103–118. ISBN 978-963-642-518-0. 
  • Engel, Pál (1996). Magyarország világi archontológiája, 1301–1457, I. [Secular Archontology of Hungary, 1301–1457, Volume I] (in Hungarian). História, MTA Történettudományi Intézete. ISBN 963-8312-44-0. 
  • Engel, Pál (2001). The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895–1526. I.B. Tauris Publishers. ISBN 1-86064-061-3. 
  • Fine, John V. A. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08260-4. 
  • Fügedi, Erik (2004). Uram, királyom... (in Hungarian). Fekete Sas Kiadó. ISBN 963935264-0. 
  • Mályusz, Elemér (1984). Zsigmond király uralma Magyarországon, 1387-1437 [The Rule of King Sigismund in Hungary, 1387-1437] (in Hungarian). Gondolat. ISBN 963-281-414-2. 
  • Markó, László (2000). A magyar állam főméltóságai Szent Istvántól napjainkig: Életrajzi Lexikon [Great Officers of State in Hungary from King Saint Stephen to Our Days: A Biographical Encyclopedia] (in Hungarian). Magyar Könyklub. ISBN 963-547-085-1. 

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