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Ladislas IV

Ladislas IVBorn: 1262
Died: 10-Jul-1290
Location of death: Körösszeg, Hungary
Cause of death: Murder

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

Nationality: Hungary
Executive summary: King of Hungary, 1272-90

Ladislas IV (or Ladislaus, Kun László in Hungarian), The Kumanian, king of Hungary, was the son of Stephen V, whom he succeeded in 1272. From his tenth year, when he was kidnapped from his father's court by the rebellious vassals, until his assassination eighteen years later, his whole life, with one bright interval of military glory, was unrelieved tragedy. His minority, 1272-77, was an alternation of palace revolutions and civil wars, in the course of which his brave Kumanian mother Elizabeth barely contrived to keep the upper hand. In this terrible school Ladislas matured precociously. At fifteen he was a man, resolute, spirited, enterprising, with the germs of many talents and virtues, but rough, reckless and very imperfectly educated. He was married to Elizabeth of Anjou, who had been brought up at the Hungarian court. The marriage was a purely political one, arranged by his father and a section of the Hungarian magnates to counterpoise hostile German and Czech influences. During the earlier part of his reign, Ladislas obsequiously followed the direction of the Neapolitan court in foreign affairs. In Hungary itself a large party was in favor of the Germans, but the civil wars which raged between the two factions from 1276 to 1278 did not prevent Ladislas, at the head of 20,000 Magyars and Kumanians, from cooperating with Rudolph of Habsburg in the great battle of Durnkrüt (August 26th, 1278), which destroyed, once for all, the empire of the Premyslidae. A month later a papal legate arrived in Hungary to inquire into the conduct of the king, who was accused by his neighbors and many of his own subjects of adopting the ways of his Kumanian kinsfolk and thereby undermining Christianity. Ladislas was not really a pagan, or he would not have devoted his share of the spoil of Durnkrüt to the building of the Franciscan church at Pressburg, nor would he have venerated as he did his aunt St. Margaret. Political enmity was largely responsible for the movement against him, yet the result of a very careful investigation (1279-81) by Philip, bishop of Fermo, more than justified many of the accusations brought against Ladislas. He clearly preferred the society of the semi-heathen Kumanians to that of the Christians; wore, and made his court wear, Kumanian dress; surrounded himself with Kumanian concubines, and neglected and ill-used his ill-favored Neapolitan consort. He was finally compelled to take up arms against his Kumanian friends, whom he routed at Hodmézö (May 1282) with fearful loss; but, previously to this, he had arrested the legate, whom he subsequently attempted to starve into submission, and his conduct generally was regarded as so unsatisfactory that, after repeated warnings, the Holy See resolved to supersede him by his Angevin kinsfolk, whom he had also alienated, and on the 8th of August 1288 Pope Nicholas IV proclaimed a crusade against him. For the next two years all Hungary was convulsed by a horrible civil war, during which the unhappy young king, who fought for his heritage to the last with desperate valor, was driven from one end of his kingdom to the other like a hunted beast. On the 25th of December 1289 he issued a manifesto to the lesser gentry, a large portion of whom sided with him, urging them to continue the struggle against the magnates and their foreign supporters; but on the 10th of July 1290 he was murdered in his camp at Körösszeg by the Kumanians, who never forgave him for deserting them.

Father: Stephen V (King of Hungary)
Mother: Elizabeth
Wife: Elizabeth of Anjou

    King of Hungary 1272 to 10-Jul-1290

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