Friday, April 24, 2015

U: by Unfaithfulness (26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary)

Once again, unfaithfulness is more of a motive than a means, but it is a good story anyway.

Let me introduce you to yet another Hungarian king: László IV (1272-1290), nicknamed " the Kun" (Cuman). He came from a strange family: Grandson to the king that weathered the Mongolian Invasion, nephew to St. Margaret of Hungary, son to the next king and a Cuman princess, one of 7 children. Half Christian, half nomadic, slightly confused, completely wild.
It was a turbulent time in the history of the Hungarian kingdom. László was not a strong ruler, and he was influenced by several noble families that all struggled for power. The king found refuge with his mother's people the Cumans who were allowed to settle within the kingdom after the Mongolian Invasion (and as a preemptive ally against a possible next invasion - which is why they were allowed to marry into the royal family).
However, the Pope and several Christian noblemen did not like the idea of the king being on better terms with the nomads than with the rest of Europe. The Pope sent a legate to Hungary and forced the king to accept laws limiting the rights and freedoms of the Cuman tribes. László fell between two chairs: The noblemen didn't like him to begin with, and now the Cumans didn't trust him either. (Unfaithfulness, get it?). He defeated them in a battle in 1282, but nothing got better - the Pope even contemplated sending a Crusade to Hungary. László gave up most of his rule to travel with the Cumans and find solace in the arms of his multiple Cuman mistresses (named Mandula, Köpcsecs, and Édua whose name means "rising moon").
On top of all of this, the Mongolians attacked the second time; it was not as devastating as the first invasion, but still pretty bad (also some people claimed that László himself called them in this time - he did have a thing for nomadic cultures).
The irony of the troubled king's life is reflected in his death: He was assassinated in his sleep by three Cuman men. He was the second to last ruler in Hungary's first, 300-year-long royal dynasty.

19 comments:

  1. Ladislaus was the Hungarian Jon Snow. :)

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  2. Sounds like he wasn't a very happy king, walking a line that he might have preferred to just forget about. Of course if he had told the Pope where to go and been faithful to the Cumans then there probably would have been a Crusade and everyone would have lost.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. A full on crusade versus the mongols? Sounds like one of the those terrible A&E specials: Who would win, a Crusader Knight or a Mongol Raider?

      I think history missed out on some pretty badass battles. I also think the mongols would have spanked the Crusaders and then marched right on into Rome. Now THAT would have changed the world a little bit...

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    2. We kinda had that when they first came in - Templar knights vs Mongols (wrote about it under K). Mongols won.

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    3. We kinda had that when they first came in - Templar knights vs Mongols (wrote about it under K). Mongols won.

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  3. Interesting post. I've read a couple of your challenge posts and come to the conclusion that Hungary must have been a bit of a hell-hole in those days. I'm presuming things have changed since then.
    I enjoy your writing and sense of humor. Blessings from South Africa, Geoff.

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  4. I think I'm a bad person. My mind when somewhere else completely when I read 'unfaithfulness'....

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  5. I'm with Tim, I imagined the contraction of some horrible disease that a doctor would then need to treat...

    Still an interesting tale, nevertheless. Poor László, seems like he was in a lose/lose situation.

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  6. HA! Like Tim and Sara, my mind went somewhere else.

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  7. That's so interesting. I love the history there. And such an AWESOME theme for the challenge!

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

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  8. Wow. It's not good to be the king!

    And there is my misquote of the day.

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  9. Troubled is a right word to describe this king.

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  10. All those cultures mixing and mingling. Isn't there a story that Genghis Khan sired so many children that a certain (significant) % of the world's population are distantly related to him?
    Maui Jungalow

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  11. Wow. He sounded like a pretty troubled king.

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  12. A twist on the unfaithfulness. I thought he would be killed by an unhappy wife he cheated on.

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  13. I also assumed unfaithfulness referred to infidelity. Monarchs had such a hard line to walk between endearing themselves to the common people and pleasing the aristocracy and royalty.

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