Bela II the Blind

XII pageHungaryPrincely times Kings and Queens

Béla II the Blind (1110–1141) – King of Hungary (1131–1141), representative of the Árpád dynasty.

Son of the Hungarian Duke Álmos, brother of Hungarian King Koloman I the Book-lover, and Peredslava Sviatopolkivna, daughter of the Grand Prince Sviatopolk Iziaslavych of Kyiv. In 1115 suffered for his father, Duke Álmos, from his uncle, Koloman II the Book-lover, who ordered to blind him and sent him to the monastery. However, Koloman’s son, King Stephen II, who had no children, returned Béla to the capital, granted him estates near Tolna (Hungary), and later arranged his marriage with the Serbian Princess Jelena and designated him his successor.

In 1131, Béla II was crowned and the first thing he did – ordered a massacre of those responsible for his blinding. Chronicles mention 68 executed persons.

Since the beginning of his government, Béla II conflicted with his relative Boris (who gained the support of Polish Duke Bolesław III) for the Hungarian throne. After Béla’s victory near the Sajó River on June 22, 1132, he finally consolidated his position on the Hungarian throne. Making use of the King’s blindness, his wife Jelena played a decisive role in governing the kingdom. With the Queen’s assistance her brother Beloš headed the Hungarian army. Under his command, the Hungarian troops recovered parts of Dalmatia (1136) and Bosnia (1137) to the kingdom, and underage László, the King’s son, became its Duke. In 1139 the 30,000-strong Hungarian army took part in the internecine war of Kyivan Prince Yaropolk (son of Volodymyr Monomakh) and Prince Vsevolod Olhovych of Chernihiv. After the death of Béla II his eldest son Géza II was proclaimed the King of Hungary.