Person:Béla III of Hungary (1)

Bela III , of Hungary
Facts and Events
Name Bela III , of Hungary
Alt Name King Béla Harmadik
Gender Male
Birth? 1148 Esztergom,Komarom-Esztergom,,HungaryHouse of Arpad
Marriage 1163 to Maria Komnene
Marriage bet 1168 and 1172 İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkeyto Agnes de Chatillon-sur-Loing, Queen Of Hungary
Alt Marriage c. 1184 Hungaryto Agnes de Chatillon-sur-Loing, Queen Of Hungary
Alt Death? 18 APR 1196 Szekesfehervar, Hungary
Reference Number? Q86978?
Death? 23 Apr 1196 Szekesfehervar,Fejer,,Hungary
Burial? Szekesfehervar, Fejer, Hungary

Béla III of Hungary (Hungarian: III. Béla, Slovak: Belo III., Croatian: Bela II.) (born 1148 died 23 April 1196, Szekesfehervar, Hungary) was the King of Hungary from 1172-1196. He was the son of King Géza II and Euphrosyne, the daughter of Grand Duke Mstislav I of Kiev

In 1164, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus concluded a treaty with Béla's brother, Stephen III, by which Béla was given the Croatian and Dalmatian territories and sent to Constantinople to be educated at the Imperial court. Manuel, who had no legitimate sons, intended that Béla should marry his daughter, Maria Comnena, and eventually succeed him as Emperor. Béla received a Greek name, Alexius, and the title of despot.

When Alexius II Comnenus was born as a son of Manuel and his second wife Maria of Antioch, Béla's engagement to Maria was cancelled. But Manuel helped negotiate another marriage for him, this time to Agnes of Antioch, daughter of Raynald of Chatillon. Agnes was the half-sister of Maria of Antioch.

Béla succeeded his brother King Stephen III and was crowned under the influence of Emperor Manuel. As the new king, Béla adopted Catholicism and selected his son Emeric as his successor. He was a powerful ruler, and his court was counted among the most brilliant in Europe.

Béla was a warrior by nature and training, and the death of Emperor Manuel in 1180 left him free to expand Hungarian power in the Balkans. Hungarian troops invaded Byzantine territory at some time before 1183. Béla's attempt to recover Dalmatia led the Kingdom of Hungary into two wars against the Republic of Venice, but these finally achieved little. He also aided the Serbs against the Byzantine Empire. At the time of his death Béla was assisting Emperor Isaac II Angelus in a war against Bulgaria. He was succeeded by both of his sons in turn, Emeric and Andrew.

His remains were confidently identified by archeologists during late 19th century excavations at the ruined cathedral of Székesfehérvár where the Árpád monarchs had been crowned and buried. Béla's exceptional height, as documented by contemporary sources, rendered the identification certain. Based on the examination of his skeleton he must have been over two metres tall, a really outstanding height at that time. His remains were afterwards reinterred at the Mathias Church in Budapest, with those of his second wife Agnes.

Through his mother, Bela descended from Harold II of England (whose descendants had been disposessed as a result of the Norman Conquest). Through his son, Andrew II, Béla was an ancestor of Edward III of England. As a result, all subsequent English and British monarchs could claim descent from Harold II (the Harold who William the Conqueror conquered to become the king)

  1.   Béla III of Hungary, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.

    the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

    Béla III (, ; 114823 April 1196) was King of Hungary and Croatia between 1172 and 1196. He was the second son of King Géza II and Géza's wife, Euphrosyne of Kiev. Around 1161, Euphrosyne granted Béla a duchy, which included Croatia, central Dalmatia and possibly Sirmium. In accordance with a peace treaty between his elder brother, Stephen III, who succeeded their father in 1162, and the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, Béla moved to Constantinople in 1163. He was renamed to Alexios, and the emperor granted him the newly created senior court title of despotes. He was betrothed to the Emperor's daughter, Maria. Béla's patrimony caused armed conflicts between the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary between 1164 and 1167, because Stephen III attempted to hinder the Byzantines from taking control of Croatia, Dalmatia and Sirmium. Béla-Alexios, who was designated as Emperor Manuel's heir in 1165, took part in three Byzantine campaigns against Hungary. His betrothal to the emperor's daughter was dissolved after her brother, Alexios, was born in 1169. The emperor deprived Béla of his high title, granting him the inferior rank of kaisar.

    Stephen III died on 4 March 1172, and Béla decided to return to Hungary. Before his departure, he pledged that he would never make war against the Byzantine Empire. Although the Hungarian prelates and lords unanimously proclaimed Béla king, Lucas, Archbishop of Esztergom opposed his coronation because of Béla's alleged simony. Finally, the Archbishop of Kalocsa crowned him king on 18 January 1173, with Pope Alexander III's approval. Béla fought with his younger brother, Géza, whom he held in captivity for more than a decade. Taking advantage of the internal conflicts in the Byzantine Empire after Emperor Manuel's death, Béla reoccupied Croatia, Dalmatia and Sirmium between 1180 and 1181. He occupied the Principality of Halych in 1188, but it was lost within two years.

    Béla promoted the use of written records during his reign. Hungarian chronicles from the 14th century even state that he was responsible for the establishment of the Royal Chancery. The royal palace built in Esztergom during his reign was the first example of Gothic architecture in Central Europe. He was the wealthiest European monarch of his time, according to a list of his revenues, but the reliability of the list is questioned.

  2.   Béla III Arpád, King of Hungary, in Lundy, Darryl. The Peerage: A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.