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ANDREW II, King of Hungary, and Gertrude of Merania

ANDREW II. King of Hungary. [The Hungarians]
(King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia and Lodomeria). (The Jerosolimitan (Hungarian: Jeruzsálemi II András/Endre, Croatian: Andrija II. Arpadovic Slovak: Ondrej).
Born about 1177; the younger son of BELA III, King of Hungary, who invested him with the government of the Principality of Halych. However, the boyars of Halych rebelled against his rule and expelled the Hungarian troops. Following their father's death, Andrew continuously conspired against his brother, King Emeric of Hungary who had to grant him the government of Croatia and Dalmatia. When his brother and his infant son died, Andrew ascended the throne and started to grant royal domains to his partisans. He participated in the Fifth Crusade but he could not achieve any major military success. He was obliged to issue the Golden Bull confirming the privileges of the noblemen of Hungary and later he was also obliged to confirm the special privileges of the clergy. During his long reign, he had several quarrels with his sons.

King of Hungary. (1205-1235).

The turbulent duke
Andrew was the second son of King Béla III and his first wife, Agnes of Antioch. As younger son, Andrew had no hope to inherite the Kingdom of Hungary from his father who wanted to ensure the inheritance of his elder son, Emeric and had him crowned already in 1182.

Nevertheless, when Prince Vladimir II Yaroslavich of Halych, who had been expelled from his country by his subjects, fled to Hungary seeking for assistance in 1188, King Béla III had him arrested and occupied his principality and he invested Andrew with Halych. The child Andrew's rule in Halych must have been only nominal; he did not even visit his principality. Although, the young prince's troops could get the mastery in 1189 when the boyars of Halych rose against his rule, but shortly afterwards Prince Vladimir II Yaroslavich managed to escape from his captivity and he expelled the Hungarian troops from Halych.

On 23 April 1196, King Béla III died and he left the Kingdom of Hungary unportioned to his eldest son, Emeric, while Andrew inherited a large amount of money in order to fulfill his father's Crusader oath. However, Andrew used the money to recruit followers among the barons and also sought the assistance of Leopold V, Duke of Austria. In December 1197, Andrew's troops defeated King Emeric's armies in a battle near to Macsek in December 1197. Following Andrew's victory, the king was obliged to transfer the government of the Duchies of Croatia and Dalmatia to Andrew.

In the beginning of 1198, Pope Innocent III requested that Andrew fulfill his father's last wishes and lead a Crusade to the Holy Land. However, instead of a Crusade, Andrew led a campaign against the neighbouring provinces and occupied Zahumlje and Rama. Andrew also went on conspiring with some prelates against his brother, but King Emeric was informed as to Andrew's plans and he personally arrested Bishop Boleszlo of Vác, one of Andrew's main supporters, and he also deprived his brother's followers (e.g., Palatine Mog) of their privileges. In the summer of 1199, King Emeric defeated Andrew in the Battle of Rád and Andrew had to flee to Austria. Finally, the two brothers made peace with the mediation of the Papal Legate Gregory, and the king granted rule of Croatia and Dalmatia again to his brother.

Around 1200, Andrew married Gertrude, a daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania. It was probably his wife who persuaded him to conspire against his brother again, but when King Emeric, who had realised that Andrew's troops outnumbered his armies, went unarmed, wearing only the crown and the sceptre, to Andrew's camp near Varasd, Andrew immediately surrendered . The king had his brother arrested, but Andrew managed to escape shortly afterwards.

Nevertheless, the king whose health was failing, wanted to secure the ascension of his young son, Ladislaus, who had been crowned on 26 August 1204. Shortly afterwards, the king reconciled with Andrew whom he appointed to govern the kingdom during his son's minority. After his brother's death on 30 September/November 1204, Andrew took over the government of the kingdom as his nephew's tutor and he also seized the money his brother had deposited on behalf of the child Ladislaus. The Dowager Queen Constance was anxious for her son's life and she escaped with King Ladislaus to the court of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria. Andrew made preparations for a war against Austria, but the child king died on 7 May 1205, thus Andrew inherited the throne.

Novć institutiones
Andrew was crowned by Archbishop John of Kalocsa on 29 May 1205 in Székesfehérvár, but before the coronation, he had to take an oath. Andrew made a radical alteration in the internal policy followed by his predecessors and he began to bestow the royal estates to his partisans. He called this new policy novć institutiones in his deeds, and he declared that "Nothing can set bounds to generosity of the Royal Majesty, and the best measure of grants, for a monarch, is immeasurableness". He gave away everything - money, villages, domains, whole counties - to the utter impoverishment of the treasury. Andrew was generous primarily with his wife's German relatives and followers, which caused discontent among his subjects.

Struggles for Halych
During the first years of his reign, Andrew was occupied with the discords within the Principality of Halych. In 1205, he led his armies to the principality to ensure the rule of the child Prince Danylo. Following his campaign, he adopted the title of "King of Galicia and Lodomeria" referring to his supremacy over the two neighbouring principalities. In the beginning of the next year, the child Danylo was again expelled from Halych but Andrew denied to give assistance to him because the child prince's opponent, Prince Volodymyr III Igorevych had bribed him. Nevertheless, in the same year, he made a campaign in Halych and gave assistance to Prince Roman Igorevych to acquire the throne.

In 1208, taking advantage of the quarrel between Prince Roman Igorevych and his boyars, Andrew occupied Halych and appointed a regent to govern the principality in his name, but Prince Volodymyr III Igorevych managed to reconquer his principality already in the following year.

A group of the aristocrats of his court, scandalised by Andrew's generosity towards his wife's relatives and followers, planned to offer the throne to his cousins, who had been living in the court of the Emperor Theodore I Lascaris of Nicaea, but their envoy was arrested and Andrew could overcome the conspiracy. In 1211, he granted the Burzenland to the Teutonic Knights in order to ensure the security of the southeastern borders of his kingdom against the Cumans. However, the Teutonic Knights began to establish a country independent of the King of Hungary.

In 1211, Andrew provided military assistance to Prince Danylo to reoccupy Halych. Moreover, in the following year, Andrew lead his armies personally to Halych to repulse the attack of Prince Mstilav of Peresopnytsia against Prince Danylo. Shortly afterwards, Prince Danylo, was obliged to leave his country and he sought again Andrew's assistance. Andrew left for his campaign in the summer 1213 when he was informed that a group of conspirators had murdered his queen on 28 September and he had to return.

Following his return, he ordered the execution only the leader of the conspirators and he forgave the other members of the group, which resulted in the emerging antipaty of his son, Béla. Nevertheless, in 1214, Andrew had his son crowned.

In the summer of 1214, Andrew had a meeting with Grand Duke Leszek I of Poland and they agreed that they would divide the Principality of Halych between Hungary and Poland. Their allied troops occupied the neighbouring principality which was granted to Andrew's younger son, Coloman. However, Andrew denied to transfer the agreed territories to Duke Leszek I who made an alliance with Prince Mstilav of Novgorod and they drove away Andrew's troops from the principality.

Shortly afterwards, Andrew made an alliance again with Leszek I and they occupied Halych where again Andrew's son was appointed to prince.

The Fifth Crusade

Andrew in the Holy Land (After he defeated Sultan of Egypt)
In the meantime, Andrew began to deal with the problems of the southern borders of his kingdom. In 1214, the Hungarian troops annexed Belgrade and Branicevo from the Bulgarian Empire.

In February 1215, Andrew married Yolanda, the niece of Henry I, the Emperor of Constantinople. When the Emperor Henry I died on 11 July 1216, Andrew was planning to acquire the imperial throne, but the barons of the Latin Empire proclaimed his father-in-law, Peter of Courtenay their emperor.

Nevertheles, Andrew decided to fulfill his father's oath and made preparations for a Crusade. He agreed with the Republic of Venice to undertake the delivery of his troops to the Holy Land, in exchange he renounced the supremacy over Zára on behalf of the Republic. Andrew and his troops embarked on 23 August 1217 in Spalato. They landed on 9 October on Cyprus from where they sailed to Acre. The well-mounted army defeated sultan Al-Adil I ( Sultan of Egypt ) in Bethsaida at Jordan River on November 10. Muslim forces retreated in their fortress and towns. The catapults and trebuchets didn't arrive on time, so he had fruitless assaults on the fortresses of the Lebanon and on Mount Tabor. Afterwards, Andrew spent his time collecting alleged relics.

Andrew set home on ( 18 January 1218). On the way home, he negotiated with King Levon I of Armenia, the Emperor Theodore I Laskaris of Nicaea and Tsar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria and arranged several marriage contracts between his children and the courts he visited. When he was staying in Nicaea, his cousins, who had been living there, made an unsuccessful attempt to take his life.

The Golden Bull and the Diploma Andreanum
On his return, he found its kingdom in anarchy. While he had been away in the Holy Land, even his regent, Archbishop John of Esztergom had been obliged to leave the country and his treasury had been exhausted. He tried to collect money by using new instruments, such as introducing new taxes, undermining the currency and leasing his income to Jews and Muslims which increased his unpopularity.

His foreign policy was also a total failure. In August 1219, his younger son, Coloman, who had been crowned King of Halych, was expelled from his kingdom by Prince Mstilav of Novgorod. Andrew had to make peace with the Prince of Novgorod and he also engaged his youngest son, Andrew with one of his opponent's daughter.

In 1220, Andrew entrusted the government of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia to his son, Béla. Andrew also enforced Béla to separate from his wife.

In the beginning of 1222, the discontent serviens (nobles) came to Andrew's court in large numbers, and they persuaded the king to issue the Golden Bull which confirmed their privileges, including the right to disobey the King if he acted not in line with the provisions of the Golden Bull (ius resistendi).

In 1223, the junior King Béla IV took back his wife and escaped to Austria fearing of Andrew's anger. Finally, Andrew made an agreement with his son with the mediation of Pope Honorius III and the junior king took over again the government of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia. On 6 June 1224 Andrew made a peace with Duke Leopold VI of Austria.

In 1224, Andrew issued the Diploma Andreanum which unified and ensured the special privileges of the Transylvanian Saxons. It's considered the oldest Autonomy law in the world. In the same year, Andrew expelled the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania because they had ignored his overlordship.

Discords with his son
The junior King Béla IV started, with the authorization of Pope Honorius III, to take back the royal domains in his provinces that Andrew had granted to his partisans during the first half of his reign. Andrew opposed his son's policy and he entrusted Béla with the government of Transylvania while his younger son, Coloman became the governor of Béla's former provinces.

In the second half of 1226, Andrew lead his armies to Halych on the request of his youngest son, Andrew. Prince Mstilav defeated the royal armies, but finally he agreed to cede the government of the principality to the Hungarian prince.

During 1228, Andrew's two sons started again to take back the former royal domains in their provinces, and they persuaded Andrew to confiscate the estates of the barons who had taken part in the conspiracy against their mother. In 1229, Prince Danylo of Halych expelled Andrew's youngest son from his principality, while Frederick II, Duke of Austria started to attack the western borders of the kingdom in 1230.

The Agreement of Bereg
Andrew, in contrast with the decisions of the Fourth Council of the Lateran, often employed Jews and Muslims in the royal household. Therefore, Pope Gregory IX requested him to give up this practise. Finally, Andrew was obliged to confirm the Golden Bull and supplement it with a provision that prohibited the employment of non-Christians and also authorised the Archbishop of Esztergom to punish the king in case he ignored his promise.

In the second half of 1231, Andrew lead his armies to Halych and managed to ensure his youngest son's rule in the principality. On his return to Hungary, Archbishop Robert of Esztergom took his kingdom under interdict and excommunicated the king's major dignitaries because Andrew insisted on the employment of Jews and Muslims in his administration. Nevertheless, upon Andrew's request, the Archbishop withdrew the ecclesiastic punishments soon and the Pope promised that the dignitaries of the King of Hungary would never be excommunicated without his special authorization.

On 20 August 1233, Andrew had a meeting with the legate of Pope Gregory IX in the woods of Bereg, and they made an agreement which ensured the privileges of the clergy. In the autumn of the year, he also met with Duke Frederick II of Austria and they agreed to stop the skirmishes on the border, but the Duke soon broke the agreement.

His last years
On 14 May 1234, Andrew, who had lost his second wife in the previous year, married Beatrice D'Este who was thirty years younger than himself. Because of the new marriage, his relationship enworthened with his sons.

In the summer of 1234, the Bishop John of Bosnia excommunicated Andrew because he had not respected some provisions of the Agreement of Bereg. Andrew appealed to the Pope against the bishop's measure. In the autumn of 1234, Prince Danylo laid siege to the capital of Andrew's youngest son who died during the siege. Thus, the Hungarian supremacy over Halych disappeared.

In the beginning of 1235, Andrew made a campaign against Austria and enforced Duke Frederick II to make a peace.

He was still alive when one of his daughters, Elisabeth, who had died some years before, was canonized on 28 May 1235. Before his death, he was absolved from the excommunication; moreover, the Pope also promised that the King of Hungary and his relatives would not be excommunicated without the special permission of the Pope.

He died on 21 September 1235.

WIFE (1):
Gertrude of Merania.
Born in 1185; daughter of Berthold IV, Duke of Merania and his wife, Agnes of Wettin. She married Andrew about 1200. She died on 8 September 1213.

CHILDREN of ANDREW II King of Hungary and Gertrude of Merania:
  1. Anna Maria of Hungary (c. 1204 – 1237), wife of Tzar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
  2. BELA IV, King of Hungary. Born in 1206. He died on 3 May 1270.
  3. Saint Elisabeth of Hungary (1207 – 10 November 1231), wife of Landgraf Louis IV of Thuringia
  4. King Coloman of Halych (1208 – after 11 April 1241)
  5. Prince Andrew II of Halych (c. 1210 – 1234)

WIFE (2):
Yolanda de Courtenay.
Born about 1200; daughter of Peter I, Emperor of the Latin Empire and his second wife, Yolanda I, Empress of the Latin Empire. She marreid Andrew in February 1215. She died in 1233.

CHILDREN of ANDREW II King of Hungary and Yolanda de Courtenay:
  1. Violant of Hungary or Yolanda (c. 1215 – 12 October 1251), wife of King James I of Aragon

WIFE (3):
Beatrice D'Este.
Born about 1215; daughter of Aldobrandino I D'Este. She marrid Andrew on 14 May 1234. She died before 8 May 1245.

CHILDREN of ANDREW II King of Hungary and Beatrice D'Este:
  1. Stephen (1236 – 10 April 1271)


Andrew II, King of Hungary.
Béla IV, King of Hungary. 
Stephen V,  King of Hungary.
Marie of Hungary. Born about 1257. She married Charles II, King of Naples.  
Margaret (Marguerite) of Naples. She married Charles, Count of Valois.
Jeanne of Valois. She married William III, The Good, Count of Holland and Haunault.
Philippa of Hainault. She married Edward III Plantagenet, King Of England.
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