Coloman I the Book-lover
( ), also spelled
(c. 1070 ‚Äď 3 February 1116), King of Hungary
(1095-1116) (from 1108 full
royal title "King of Hungary, Slavonia, Croatia and Dalmatia").
Although Coloman was their father's elder son, during his reign,
Coloman had to fight against his brother, Duke √Ālmos
who permanently disputed his
right to the crown because Coloman probably had a physical
deformity. Finally, Coloman ordered to make his brother and his
infant son blind which caused that later chroniclers, who was to
live in the court of his brother's descendants, accused him of
viciousness. However, he was one of the most educated rulers of his
, the Polish chronicler, Gallus Anonymus
describes him as the king
"who was more educated in literary sciences than any of the
kings who was living in his age"
. Coloman, as legislator,
mitigated the austerity of his predecessor's decrees.
Coloman was the elder son of the future King G√©za I
and his first wife Sophia,
daughter of Count Giselbert of Looz. When his father died on 25
April 1077, in accordance with the Hungarian tradition which gave
precedence to the eldest member of the royal family over the king's
son, King G√©za's brother, Ladislaus
was proclaimed king.
Coloman and his younger brother, √Ālmos
were educated in the court of their
King Ladislaus wanted √Ālmos to succeed him as king of Hungary, and
wished to make Coloman a bishop. Therefore, Coloman was educated
pursuant to the clerical traditions and acquired his subsequently
famous learning, which earned him the appellation "the
to the chronicles, King Ladislaus appointed Coloman to bishop of
Eger or Nagyv√°rad.
However, Coloman did not want to live an
ecclesiastical life, and in 1095, when King Ladislaus named
officially √Ālmos as his heir, Coloman escaped to Poland. When
Coloman came back followed by Polish troops provided to him by Duke
WŇāadysŇāaw I Herman
Poland, King Ladislaus died on 29 July 1095. Shortly afterwards,
Coloman made an agreement with his brother, under which √Ālmos
acknowledged his reign but received "Tercia pars Regni"
one third of the Kingdom of Hungary) as appanage
from the new king. Coloman was crowned only in the beginning of
Facing the Crusaders
Shortly after his coronation, Coloman had to face the problems the
armies caused while passing
through Hungary. Although the armies led by Walter the Penniless passed peacefully
through the country in May 1096, the next hordes led by Peter the Hermit occupied the fortress of
Zimony withdrawing only when Coloman's armies were
afterwards, the troops of a German knight named Folkmar were pillaging the territories of the
Hungarian County of Nyitra, while the
German priest Gottschalk's hordes were
ravaging the Transdanubian region of the kingdom.
managed to rout both of the armies and he denied the entrance of
the new armies led by Emicho of Leiningen
Guillaume de Melun
, but the
Crusaders laid siege to the fortress of Moson
defended by Coloman. Coloman could only break out and win over the
Crusaders just after a six-week-long defence.
On 20 September 1096, Coloman made an agreement with Duke Godfrey V of Lower Lorraine
, the leader
of the next army. Under their agreement, Coloman took hostages
(including Godfrey's brother, Baldwin
, who would become the first
king of Jerusalem) and he mustered his own army to guard the
progress; therefore the Crusader armies passed through the kingdom
Alleged campaigns in Croatia
Coloman changed Hungary's foreign policy. While his predecessor
had asked for the Holy Roman
Emperor's help (instead of the pope's) when waging war on
Croatia, Coloman wanted to stay on good terms with the
In the spring of 1097, he
, a daughter of
Count Roger I of Sicily
who was a
close ally of the popes.
Shortly afterwards, Coloman led his armies against Petar Svańćińá
, who had been proclaimed
king of Croatia, and won a decisive victory over the Croat armies
at the Battle of Gvozd
, and reoccupied the country.
In 1097, he made good Hungary‚Äôs claim to Croatia by overthrowing
King Petar Svańćińá of Croatia, and by 1102 Coloman controlled the
greater part of Dalmatia.
According to the pacta
, this marked both the end of an independent Kingdom of
Croatia and the absorption, albeit incomplete, of the conquered
territories into the Kingdom of Hungary. King Coloman of Hungary
created a personal union between the Kingdom of Croatia and
Hungary. However, some historians dispute its authenticity and
claim that the document is a forgery and that Hungary seized
Croatia which became a province, while Croatian historiography
generally accepts it as authentic. A Croatian proponent of the
document being forgery is Nada
. According to this "pacta", the coronation was preceded
by an agreement between Coloman and the representatives of the
greatest Croatian families, under which he and his successors would
govern Croatia as a separate kingdom. They, in turn, would
acknowledge the special privileges and customs of the kingdom.
However, there is no undoubtedley genuine document of the personal
union, and medieval sources mention the absorption into the
According to Croatian scholar M. Barada, almost everything stated
about Svańćińá family is pure legend, and Hungarian scholar S√°ndor
Szilagyi stated that Petar Svańćińá never existed, since the only
source which mentions him, Simon K√©zai's Magyar Kr√≥nika
is not reliable and there is no contemporary mention of Svańćińá's
alleged uprising .
The Pacta Conventa is most likely a late medieval forgery, not a
twelfth-century source. Its source of inspiration must have been
the political and social developments that had taken place over a
300-year period following the conquest of Ladislav I and
While Coloman was far away in Croatia, his brother, √Ālmos, who had
governed Croatia during the reign of Ladislaus I, rose against him
in Hungary. However, the barons wanted to avoid the internal
struggle and obliged Coloman and √Ālmos to confirm their former
agreement under which √Ālmos could maintain his duchy while he
accepted Coloman's rule. In 1105, Coloman led his armies to Dalmatia and occupied the Dalmatian towns and
islands that had belonged to Venice.
Wars with the neighbouring countries
beginning of 1099, Coloman allied himself with his cousins, Duke
Svatopluk of Moravia and Duke
Otto II of Moravia against Duke BŇôetislav II of Bohemia, but he had
a meeting, on 29 May, with BŇôetislav II in Uhersk√Ĺ
Brod where they made a peace.
second half of 1099, Coloman led his armies against Prince Vasilko of Terebovl and laid siege to
the fortress of Peremysl, but he was
defeated by the Cuman allies of the
Coloman as legislator
One of his most famous laws was half a millennium ahead of its
time: De strigis vero quae non sunt, nulla amplius quaestio
(As for the matter of witches, there is no such thing,
therefore no further investigations or trials are to be
Coloman's court was a center of learning and literature. Bishop
Hartvik's Life of St.
, a chronicle of Hungary, the shorter of the extant
Legends of St. Gell√©rt, and several collections of laws all stem
from his reign.
synod of Tarcal, the
prelates and barons of the kingdom revised the laws of the
preceding kings, and Coloman issued new decrees.
decrees reduced the severity of the laws of King Ladislaus I, but
they also contained provisions against the Jews
and the Muslims
Internal wars with his brother
Coloman had his son, Stephen
crowned in 1105, which resulted in the open rebellion of his
brother, Duke √Ālmos
, who went to
the court of Henry IV, Holy
. But the emperor was engaged with the rebellion
of his own son, the future Emperor Henry V
, thus Duke √Ālmos had to
come back to Hungary and accept Coloman's rule.
But √Ālmos did not give up his claims, and escaped to Poland and
made an agreement with Duke BolesŇāaw III
who declared war
against Coloman. However, Coloman sent envoys to the duke of Poland
and convinced him to make an alliance against the Holy Roman
Empire; therefore √Ālmos was obliged to return to Hungary and ask
for the king's pardon.
In 1107, Coloman and BolesŇāaw III gave assistance to Duke Svatopluk of Moravia
Borivoj II of Bohemia
. In the
next year, BolesŇāaw III could overcome the rebellion of his
help. In the same year, taking advantage of his brother's
pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Coloman occupied √Ālmos' duchy.
Coloman visited Dalmatia and confirmed the privileges of Spalatum (Split), Iadera (Zadar), and
When duke √Ālmos returned from the Holy Land and realised that his
duchy had been incorporated into the royal domains, he escaped
again to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor. Upon his request, the
Emperor Henry V laid
siege to Pozsony.
Coloman sought the assistance of Duke
BolesŇāaw III of Poland, who attacked Bohemia. In November, the
emperor made a peace with Coloman, who let his brother come back to
his court, but the duchy of √Ālmos was not to be restored.
afterwards, Coloman set up the bishopric of Nyitra.
In 1112, Coloman married Eufemia of
, daughter of Grand Prince Vladimir II of Kiev
. However, a few
months later, she was caught in adultery and immediately divorced
and sent back to her father. Eufemia bore a son in Kiev, named
in 1112, but Coloman refused
to acknowledge him as his son.
afterwards, Coloman had a meeting with BolesŇāaw III who was going
on a pilgrimage to Sz√©kesfeh√©rv√°r and Somogyv√°r because of having made his brother blind.
1115, Coloman, who had become more and more ill, also ordered to
make √Ālmos and his infant son, B√©la
blind in order to secure his
own son's inheritance.
In August 1115, Venice made an assault against Dalmatia and began
to conquer the Dalmatian towns and isles. But Coloman was not able
to answer to the aggression, because he died on 3 February 1116.
buried in Sz√©kesfeh√©rv√°r, next to St. Stephen.
Ancestors of Coloman of
King of Hungary, Slavonia, Croatia, Dalmatia"
- Krist√≥, Gyula - Makk, Ferenc: Az √Ārp√°d-h√°z uralkod√≥i
(IPC K√∂nyvek, 1996)
- Korai Magyar T√∂rt√©neti Lexikon (9-14. sz√°zad),
fŇĎszerkesztŇĎ: Krist√≥, Gyula, szerkesztŇĎk: Engel, P√°l √©s Makk,
Ferenc (Akad√©miai Kiad√≥, Budapest, 1994)
- Magyarorsz√°g T√∂rt√©neti Kronol√≥gi√°ja I. ‚Äď A
kezdetektŇĎl 1526-ig, fŇĎszerkesztŇĎ: Benda, K√°lm√°n (Akad√©miai
Kiad√≥, Budapest, 1981)