Ruling Prince Géza and King Stephen Cover Image

Géza fejedelem és István király
Ruling Prince Géza and King Stephen

Author(s): Gyula Kristó
Subject(s): History
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The essay considers the general judgement and the actual sources of the passing of power from Géza to Stephen. The first decade of Géza's rule (the early 970s) saw intensive activity in the western half of the Carpathian Basin aiming at the conversion of the Magyars, and the envoys of the ruling prince took part in the Central European summit at Quedlinburg at Easter in 973. This is followed by a twenty-year hiatus in the source material concerning the Magyars, which invites the inference that Hungarian-German connections were loosened and even completely severed. Neither do German sources display any interest in the Carpatian Basin between 975 and 995. Information from 985 probably indicates that by that time the cause of the conversion to Christianity had come to a halt in Hungary. The foundation charter of Veszprémvölgy, which can be linked with Géza, is probably evidence of Orthodox (Eastern) Christianity gaining ground in the western part of the Carpathian Basin. This is substantiated by the account of Bruno of Querfurt. Both foreign and Hungarian sources represent Géza as a baptized ruler, who, though not living according to Christian principles, pursuing a course of peaceful policy. The crucial role in the marriage between Géza's son Stephen and Gisella (996/997) was probably played not by the ailing and aged Géza but St Adalbert, Bishop of Prague. This marriage was a decisive factor in Stephen's victory over Koppány in 997, who claimed the position of ruling prince according to the pre-Christian order of succession after Géza's death. Stephen was supported in this armed conflict by the Bavarian knights who had accompanied Gisella to Hungary. Indeed, it cannot be ruled out that Emperor Otto III also sent German troops to the Carpathian Basin to assist Stephen. Géza was able to get as far as other tribal leaders had in the middle of the tenth century (Gyula) or would get early in the eleventh century (Ajtony). Thus, hardly being able to build on what Géza had created; Stephen wanted to establish a new order in his territorially constantly inreasing realm. Contemporary western sources appreciated Stephen's efforts in this direction.

  • Issue Year: 2000
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 21-29
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Hungarian