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Stephen I

Stephen IAKA István I

Born: c. 975 AD
Birthplace: Esztergom, Hungary
Died: 15-Aug-1038
Location of death: Esztergom, Hungary
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: Hungary
Executive summary: First King of Hungary

Stephen I, King of Hungary, was the son of Geza, duke of Hungary, and of Sarolta, one of the few Magyar Christian ladies, who obtained the best teachers for her infant son. These preceptors included the German priest Bruno, the Czech priest Radla, and an Italian knight, Theodate of San Severino, who taught him arms and letters (a holograph epistle by Stephen existed in the Vatican Library as late as 1513). In 996 Stephen married Gisela, the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria, and in the following year his father died and the young prince was suddenly confronted by a formidable pagan reaction under Kupa in the districts between the Drave and Lake Balaton. Stephen hastened against the rebels, bearing before him the banner of St. Martin of Tours, whom he now chose to be his patron saint, and routed the rebels at Veszprem (998), a victory from which the foundation of the Hungarian monarchy must be dated, for Stephen assumed the royal title immediately afterwards. In 1001 his envoy Asztrik obtained Pope Sylvester II's confirmation of this act of sovereignty. Sylvester at the same time sent Stephen a consecrated crown, and approved of the erection of an independent Hungarian church, divided into the two provinces of Esztergom and Bács. But the power of pagan Hungary could not be broken in a day. The focus of the movement was the Maros region, where the rebel Ajtony built the fortress of Marosvár. The struggle proceeded for more than twenty-five years, the difficulties of Stephen being materially increased by the assistance rendered to the rebels by the Greek emperors, his neighbors since their reconquest of Bulgaria. As early as 1015 Stephen had appointed the Italian priest Gellert bishop of Maros, but he was unable to establish the missionary in his see until 1030. The necessity of christianizing his heathen kingdom by force of arms engrossed all the energies of Stephen and compelled him to adopt a pacific policy towards the emperors of the East and West. When the emperor Conrad, with the deliberate intention of subjugating Hungary, invaded it in 1030, Stephen not only drove him out, but captured Vienna (now mentioned for the first time) and compelled the emperor to cede a large portion of the Ostmark (1031). Of the five sons borne to him by Gisela, only Emerich reached manhood, and this well-educated prince was killed by a wild boar in 1031. Stephen thereupon appointed as his successor his wife's nephew Peter Orseolo, who settled in Hungary, where his intrigues and foreign ways made him extremely unpopular. Stephen died at his palace at Esztergom in 1038 and was canonized in 1083.

Father: Geza (Duke of Hungary)
Mother: Sarolta
Wife: Gisela (m. 996, five sons, all but Emerich d. in childhood)
Son: Emerich (d. 1031 wild boar)

    King of Hungary 25-Dec-1000 to 15-Aug-1038
    Canonization 1083


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