Stephen V


son of: Béla IV
periods of reign: 1270-1272
spouse: Elisabeth the Cuman
children: Catherine, Mary, Elisabeth, Anne, Ladislaus IV, Andrew
succesor: Ladislaus IV


Stephen V is described in Hungarian chronicles ambiguously. On one hand he is mentioned as an ungrateful, power oriented heir, and on the other, as an excellent warlord and talented monarch. He was born as king Béla’s 8th child. However, since he was the first son, he became heir. His father had him crowned as Duke of Slavonia. His life was strongly influenced by his father’s anti Mongol policy. As part of the alliance with the Cumans, Béla IV forced Stephen to get engaged with the daughter of the Cuman chieftain, called Elisabeth.

After attaining majority, King Béla appointed Stephen Duke of Transylvania in 1257 and Duke of Styria, a newly acquired territory of Hungary, in 1258. The combative, power oriented young duke didn’t agree with his father’s careful policy.  Their conflict had got so intense that the hot-tempered duke attacked his father. After several victories, Stephen as junior king achieved that his father gave him the territory of Transdanubia in 1262.  Since then the country unofficially got divided into two parts. Stephen ruled as a sovereign monarch in his own territory, with separate foreign policy and individual military campaigns. Engaging his daughter Mary with the future Anjou Charles of Naples, was considered to be one of his great diplomatic successes. It served as the basis of the claims of the Capetian House of Anjou for the Hungarian throne.

After his father’s death in 1270, Stephen was officially crowned as Hungarian king. During his reign he faced several opponents among his father’s followers. His older sister Anna fled to the king of Bohemia, and seized the royal treasures with herself. This made the conflicts between Bohemia and Hungary more intense, soon leading to a war. In 1270 Ottokar invaded Hungary, but Stephen expelled him from the country and later signed peace with him. The king was about to strengthen his power, when Ban Joachim Gutkeled kidnapped Stephen's ten-year-old son and heir, Ladislaus and imprisoned him in the castle of Koprivnica in  Summer 1272.  Stephen besieged the fortress, but could not capture it. The king fell ill and was taken to the Csepel Island. He died on 6th August 1272.  Stephen was buried near the tomb of his sister, Margaret, in the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin on Rabbits' Island.