son of: Béla III
periods of reign: 1196-1204
spouse: Constance of Aragon
children: Ladislaus
succesor: Ladislaus III


There are not many memories left about Emeric’s young ages. It is certain that he was crowned way before his father’s death, at the age of 14 in 1182, but had no actual power at that time. In 1194 his father appointed him to rule Dalmatia and Croatia. After Béla’s death Emeric followed his father on the throne, and his brother Andrew inherited a significant amount of money, partly because the king wanted him to lead crusades. Nevertheless, Andrew had squandered his wealth, later attacked his brother, and defeated him at Mački in 1197. Therefore, Emeric was forced to make Andrew Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia. However, the next battle in 1199 resulted in Emeric’s victory, hence the king’s power was restored in 1200.

From around 1200 Emeric got deeply involved in the affairs in Serbia. He became the first Hungarian monarch to adopt the title of King of Serbia. Later he became also King of Bulgaria for a certain period of time. The conflict between the two brothers, Emeric and Andrew, got intense again, when Andrew was forced to acknowledge Emeric’s heir, born meanwhile. Before they could have attacked each other again, Emeric managed to have Andrew captured and imprisoned. In order to secure the power of his son Ladislaus III, he made the Pope crown him. In return, Emeric promised to be loyal to the Church.

Before his death, the king reconciled with his brother, entrusting to him the guardianship of his son and the administration of the entire kingdom until the ward should reach the age of majority. He left only one third of his money to his son, the rest he donated to the Templar and St. John’s Orders. Emeric was buried in Eger.