Pagan soldier: King Ladislav provoked the Kumans and the Hungarian nobility against each other

To understand what the situation is Ladislav Kumansky lived and governed, we must look at the first half of the 13th century. At that time, the Hungarian state was a real “melting pot” of diverse ethnicities, which, of course, caused many problems.

Kumans and Mongol danger

Around the beginning of the 13th century tribes of savage Kumans began to penetrate the eastern part of the Hungarian kingdom, the so-called Transylvania. They were nomads of Turkish origin from the Asian steppes, who, as pagans and nomads, were completely different from the Christianized and settled Hungarians..

Another blow was dealt by the Mongol invasion in 1241. Mongol ruler Genghis Khan sent his grandson named Batu in the west, which, in addition to Hungary, also took regions of Kievan Rus or Poland. However, the Mongol invasion was particularly devastating for Hungary. Hordes of savage “Tatars” stopped at nothing and conquered practically the whole country with murder and looting. It is estimated that around a quarter of the population lost their lives at the time.

Even the king himself almost did not escape death Bela IV.who ultimately escaped a humiliating escape. At the crucial moment, he was dismissed by powerful nobles who, among other things, did not like that he intended to engage the Kumans in battle. So, instead of uniting against danger, they had Prince Kuman Kuthan assassinated, causing Béla to lose his main ally and an army of several thousand.. Instead of helping, the nomads swore revenge and set about plundering the already perverted country. Only the sudden disappearance of the great khan prevented the complete collapse of the kingdom, because of which Batu and his hordes quickly retreated to Asia.

After this terrifying experience, it seemed almost impossible to restore the kingdom. However, Béla was a skilful and energetic leader who deployed all his forces to this end. Depopulated areas were to be inhabited by new settlers. The king therefore invited European colonizers from various countries to the country and did not hesitate to use the Kumans for this purpose. However, at that time they still lived in a very wild way, according to old customs and led by the tribal chief. Formally, Béla had them baptized, but we can have no illusions about their inner Christian beliefs.

The fiery king

Béla made contact with the Kumans in another and much more personal way. He married his eldest son Štěpán with Kumánka Alžběta, who became Queen of Hungary after the death of her stepfather. However, she never forgot her origins and called herself “Queen of the Hungarians and daughter of Emperor Kumans”.. When her husband Stephen V died after a two-year reign in 1272, he left a ten-year-old son Ladislava. Half Arpad blood and half Kuman blood flowed through his veins, which, as we shall see, prevailed in him.

The untimely death of Stephen and the minority of the new king caused many problems for the country. Elizabeth, who was to rule as regent until she came of age, became a prankster at the hands of powerful Hungarian lords who did not hesitate to seize the opportunity and assert their power. It is therefore not surprising that mother and son increasingly resorted to “their” Kumans, who were the only ones who trusted them. Of course, this did not help the process of assimilation of this ethnic group, because the national leaders saw them all the more as foreign immigrants.

Young Ladislav was married to the daughter of King Charles Isabella of Anjou of Naples, and the sweet, tender and cultured princess had to go through real hell with him. He had not denied the oriental genes agitated from the cradle. His temper was unbridled and he found various manifestations of which the most important was a considerable sexual appetite. There wouldn’t be anything so unusual about that, but the scandal was that his main chosen one was Kumánka. Regardless of Isabel, he left that girl by name Edua pay homage as queen. Moreover, Ladislav would not even have hesitated to seize his mistresses during a meeting of the royal council, in the presence of high ecclesiastical dignitaries!

Besides Oedema, of course, he had many other mistresses from the ranks of Kumánek, while he had poor Isabel locked away in a monastery. It was a monastery on the so-called Rabbit Island, where at that time his sister Elizabeth was staying with the rank of abbess.

Even in appearance, Ladislav did not look like a classic European monarch. He also demonstrated his affiliation with the Kumans on the outside. Like the other nomads, he wore a braid and a pointed hat and although he was baptized, he enjoyed pagan ceremonies with Kuman friends.

Worst of all, however, he stared openly at the former Hun warlord attilawho did not earn the nickname “Whip of God”. He saw in him the conquerors and rulers of the whole world, whom he also aspired to become. However, the reality was far from his dreams, his own power was crumbling more and more.

Pride precedes the fall

The scandalous behavior of the Hungarian king, of course, did not escape notice. When the pope scolded him for his mistresses and pagan retinue, hot-blooded Ladislav said he would give “All that bastard head with Tartar sabers”. He meant Hungarian bishops and all church leaders in general “To Rome”. The performance of the Hungarian monarch has simply exceeded all limits, and Ladislav will soon be convinced that by not respecting basic Christian conventions and rules, he is endangering his own throne.

Ladislav’s relationship with his beloved Kumans suffered cracks in the late 1970s, when the ruler found himself under heavy pressure from the pope, who could no longer resist. He therefore spoke out against some of Kuman’s freedoms and customs, such as owning Christian prisoners. The Kumans in question rebelled against the king and began plundering the land again. In 1280 Ladislav fought a battle with them on Lake Hod, in which he defeated the Kumans and drove them out of the country for some time. However, he lost the main support against the expanding Hungarian magnates, who intended to wrest as much power from them as possible and stopped at nothing. A growing anarchy settles in the country.

Ladislav’s main opponent was the Archbishop of Esztergom Ladomer, the highest ecclesiastical representative of the country. He set out to rid the country of the savage, half-pagan king who was leading it to perdition. So he turned to Rome with a demand that the pope declare a crusade against the Hungarian royal heretic. But before that happens, Pope Honorius IV. he died and the business of the expedition calmed down somewhat. However, the determined archbishop did not give up and called to arms against the tyrant. His zeal was further fueled by the king’s threats to ally himself with the bloodthirsty Tatars, who in turn began to threaten Europe.

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Ladislav’s opponents eventually managed to capture the king and force him to repent and compromise. However, he had to solemnly swear that he would no longer ally himself with the Kumans, Tatars or Saracens, as he had previously claimed. He was also forced to return all his former possessions to the nobility, and last but not least, he had to promise to abandon his pagan customs and take back his lawful wife.. With this humiliating defeat, Ladislav would not only lose his power, but also his identity. It is therefore obvious that as soon as the assembly separates, he cancels everything and intends to avenge his conquerors. He captured several members of the nobility and shaved that he and the Tatars would march on Rome. However, he no longer had the opportunity to do so. Twenty-eight-year-old Ladislav had his own enemies and no one stood by his side. The king’s unfettered life thus ended prematurely in 1290 by the hand of a murderer from the ranks of his once popular Kumans…

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