Charles I of Austria
Charles I or Karl I was the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, the last King of Bohemia, the last monarch belonging to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine before the dissolution of Austria-Hungary. After his uncle Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in 1914, Charles became heir presumptive of Emperor Franz Joseph. Charles I reigned from 21 November 1916 until 11-12 November 1918, when he "renounced participation" in state affairs, but did not abdicate, he spent the remaining years of his life attempting to restore the monarchy until his death in 1922. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004, he is known to the Catholic Church as Blessed Karl of Austria. Charles was born 17 August 1887 in the Castle of Persenbeug in Lower Austria, his parents were Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony. At the time, his granduncle Franz Joseph reigned as Emperor of King of Hungary. Upon the death of Crown Prince Rudolph in 1889, the Emperor's brother, Archduke Karl Ludwig, was next in line to the Austro-Hungarian throne.
However, his death in 1896 from typhoid made his eldest son, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the new heir presumptive. As a child, Archduke Charles was reared a devout Catholic, he spent his early years. He was educated, contrary to the custom ruling in the imperial family, he attended a public gymnasium for the sake of demonstrations in scientific subjects. On the conclusion of his studies at the gymnasium, he entered the army, spending the years from 1906 to 1908 as an officer chiefly in Prague, where he studied law and political science concurrently with his military duties. In 1907, he was declared of age and Prince Zdenko Lobkowitz was appointed his chamberlain. In the next few years he carried out his military duties in various Bohemian garrison towns. Charles's relations with his granduncle were not intimate, those with his uncle Franz Ferdinand were not cordial, with the differences between their wives increasing the existing tension between them. For these reasons, Charles, up to the time of the assassination of his uncle in 1914, obtained no insight into affairs of state, but led the life of a prince not destined for a high political position.
In 1911, Charles married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. They had met as children but did not see one another for ten years, as each pursued their education. In 1909, his Dragoon regiment was stationed at Brandýs nad Labem in Bohemia, from where he visited his aunt at Franzensbad, it was during one of these visits that Zita became reacquainted. Due to Franz Ferdinand's morganatic marriage in 1900, his children were excluded from the succession; as a result, the Emperor pressured Charles to marry. Zita not only shared Charles' devout Catholicism, but an impeccable royal lineage. Zita recalled: We were of course glad to meet again and became close friends. On my side feelings developed over the next two years, he seemed to have made his mind up much more however, became more keen when, in the autumn of 1910, rumours spread about that I had got engaged to a distant Spanish relative, Duke of Madrid. On hearing this, the Archduke came down post haste from his regiment at Brandeis and sought out his grandmother, Archduchess Maria Theresa, my aunt and the natural confidante in such matters.
He asked if the rumor was true and when told it was not, he replied, "Well, I had better hurry in any case or she will get engaged to someone else." Charles became heir presumptive after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, the event which precipitated World War I. Only at this time did the old Emperor take steps to initiate the heir-presumptive to his crown in affairs of state, but the outbreak of World War I interfered with this political education. Charles spent his time during the first phase of the war at headquarters at Teschen, but exercised no military influence. Charles became a Feldmarschall in the Austro-Hungarian Army. In the spring of 1916, in connection with the offensive against Italy, he was entrusted with the command of the XX. Corps, whose affections the heir-presumptive to the throne won by his friendliness; the offensive, after a successful start, soon came to a standstill. Shortly afterwards, Charles went to the eastern front as commander of an army operating against the Russians and Romanians.
Charles succeeded to the thrones in November 1916 after the death of his grand-uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph. On 2 December 1916, he assumed the title of Supreme Commander of the whole army from Archduke Friedrich, his coronation as King of Hungary occurred on 30 December. In 1917, Charles secretly entered into peace negotiations with France, he employed his brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma, an officer in the Belgian Army, as intermediary. However, the Allies insisted on Austrian recognition of Italian claims to territory and Charles refused, so no progress was made. Foreign minister Graf Czernin was only interested in negotiating a general peace which would include Germany, Charles himself went much further in suggesting his willingness to make a separate peace; when news of the overture leaked in April 1918, Charles denied involvement until French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau published letters signed by him. This led to Czernin's resignation, forcing Austria-Hungary into an more dependent position with respect to its wronged German ally.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was wracked by inner turmoil in the final years of the war
Álmos Almos or Almus, was – according to the uniform account of Hungarian chronicles – the first head of the "loose federation" of the Hungarian tribes from around 850. Whether he was the sacred ruler of the Hungarians, or their military leader is subject to scholarly debate, he accepted the Khazar khagan's suzerainty in the first decade of his reign, but the Hungarians acted independently of the Khazars from around 860. The 14th-century Illuminated Chronicle narrates that he was murdered in Transylvania at the beginning of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin around 895. Anonymus, the unknown author of the Gesta Hungarorum – who wrote his "historical romance" around 1200 or 1210 – states that Álmos descended "from the line" of Attila the Hun. A late 13th-century chronicler, Simon of Kéza wrote that Álmos was "of the Turul kindred", he wrote of Attila the Hun's banner, which bore "the image of the bird the Hungarians call turul" – identified as either a gyrfalcon or a hawk. A bird has an important role in the legend about Álmos's birth, preserved both by the Gesta Hungarorum and by the Illuminated Chronicle.
The legend says that Álmos's mother pregnant with him, dreamed of a bird of prey "which had the likeness of a hawk" impregnating her. Historians Gyula Kristó and Victor Spinei wrote that this story, which has close analogies in Turkic folklore narrated the origin of Álmos's family from a totemic ancestor. According to the Gesta Hungarorum, Álmos was born to Emese, a daughter of "Prince Eunedubelian". However, Kristó writes that her name, containing the old Hungarian word for mother, may have been invented by Anonymus; the name of Álmos's father is uncertain because the Hungarian chronicles preserved it in two variants. Anonymus states that Ügyek was his name, but the 14th-century Illuminated Chronicle says that Előd – himself the son of Ügyek – was Álmos's father. Kristó says that both names may have been the chroniclers' inventions, since Ügyek's name derives from the ancient Hungarian ügy word, Előd's name refers to an ancestor. Anonymus writes that Ügyek married Emese in 819. If this date is correct, Álmos was born around 820.
Although Anonymus makes a connection between the name of Álmos and the Hungarian word for dream, many historians, including András Róna-Tas and Victor Spinei, argue that his name is of Turkic origin. If the latter theory is correct, it has a meaning of "the bought one". Álmos's family may have been of Turkic stock, but according to Victor Spinei, a name's etymology does not always reflect its bearer's ethnicity. In the year of Our Lord's incarnation 819, Ügek... took to wife in Dentumoger the daughter of Prince Eunedubelian, called Emese, from whom he begot a son, named Álmos. But he is called Álmos from a divine event, because when she was pregnant a divine vision appeared to his mother in a dream in the form of a falcon that seemed to come to her and impregnate her and made known to her that from her womb a torrent would come forth and from her loins glorious kings be generated, but that they would not multiply in their own land; because a dream is called álom in the Hungarian language and his birth was predicted in a dream, so he was called Álmos.
Or he was called Álmos, holy, because holy kings and dukes were born of his line. Álmos, according to Gesta Hungarorum, was elected by the heads of the seven Hungarian tribes as their "leader and master". Anonymus adds that to ratify Álmos's election, the seven chiefs "swore an oath, confirmed in pagan manner with their own blood spilled in a single vessel". Anonymus says that they adopted the basic principles of the government, including the hereditary right of Álmos's offsprings to his office and the right of his electors' descendant to have a seat in the prince's council. According to author Pál Engel, this report of the "treaty by blood", which reflects its authors' political philosophy rather than actual events, was "often presented by Hungarian historians as the first manifestation of modern parliamentary thinking in Europe" up until 1945. In a contrasting narrative from around 950, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus states that instead of Álmos, his son Árpád was the first supreme head of the Hungarian tribes, that Árpád's election was initiated by the Khazar khagan.
The emperor says the khagan sent an envoy to the "voivodes" after they had been forced by the Pechenegs to leave their dwelling places near the Khazar Khaganate and to settle in a new territory called Etelköz. The khagan was planning to appoint one of the voivodes named Levedi to lead the Hungarian tribes to represent the khagan's interests. Although Levedi refused the khagan's offer, he proposed one of his peers, Álmos or Álmos's son Árpád, to the proposed new position; the khagan accepted Levedi's offer. Upon his initiative the Hungarians elected their first prince, but they preferred Árpád to his father. Gyula Kristó and many other historians refute Porphyrogenitus's report of the omission of Álmos in favor of his son, saying that the turul legend connected to Álmos's birth proves his role as forefather of his dynasty; these historians say that the emperor's account is based on a report by one of Árpád's descendants named Termacsu, who emphasized by this report of Árpád's election that only those descending from Árpád were suitable to lead the Hungarians.
András Róna-Tas says that Constantine Porphyrogenitus preserved the memory of a coup d'état organized against Levedi kende by Álmos gyula, who had his own son Árpád elected as sacred ruler in his opponent's place. A late 9th-century Central Asian schol
Coloman, King of Hungary
Coloman the Learned the Book-Lover or the Bookish was King of Hungary from 1095 and King of Croatia from 1097 until his death. Because Coloman and his younger brother Álmos were underage when their father Géza I died, their uncle Ladislaus I ascended the throne in 1077. Ladislaus prepared Coloman—who was "half-blind and humpbacked", according to late medieval Hungarian chronicles—for a church career, Coloman was appointed bishop of Eger or Várad in the early 1090s; the dying King Ladislaus preferred Álmos to Coloman when nominating his heir in early 1095. Coloman returned around 19 July 1095 when his uncle died, he was crowned in early 1096. He granted the Hungarian Duchy—one-third of the Kingdom of Hungary—to Álmos. In the year of Coloman's coronation, at least five large groups of crusaders arrived in Hungary on their way to the Holy Land, he annihilated the bands who were entering his kingdom unauthorized or pillaging the countryside, but the main crusader army crossed Hungary without incident.
He invaded Croatia in 1097, defeating its last native king Petar Svačić. He was crowned king of Croatia in 1102. According to the late 14th-century Pacta conventa, he was only crowned after having ratified a treaty with the leaders of the Croatian nobility. For centuries thereafter, the Hungarian monarchs were the kings of Croatia. Coloman had to face his brother's attempts to dethrone him throughout his life. In retaliation, he seized his brother's duchy in 1107 or 1108 and had Álmos and Álmos' son Béla blinded in about 1114. Hungarian chronicles, which were compiled in the reigns of kings descending from his mutilated brother and nephew, depict Coloman as a bloodthirsty and unfortunate monarch. On the other hand, he is portrayed as "the most well-versed in the science of letters among all the kings of his day" by the contemporaneous chronicler Gallus Anonymus. Coloman's decrees, which governed many aspects of life—including taxation and relations between his Christian and non-Christian subjects—remained unmodified for more than a century.
He was the first Hungarian king to renounce control of the appointment of prelates in his realms. Coloman was the elder of the two sons of King Géza I. Géza's Byzantine second wife—whose baptismal name is unknown—left Hungary after her husband's death, implying that she was not his children's mother; the mother of Coloman and his younger brother, Álmos, must have been Géza's first wife, whose family is unknown. According to historians Gyula Kristó and Márta Font, the brothers were born around 1070, because they were mature enough to hold offices in the early 1090s. Coloman's uncommon baptismal name was recorded as Colomanus or Colombanus in medieval documents written in Latin. Kristó writes that he was most named after Saint Coloman of Stockerau, a missionary, martyred in Austria in the early 11th century. Another possibility is. Coloman's father ascended the throne in 1074; because Coloman and Álmos were minors when he died on 25 April 1077, Géza's brother Ladislaus I succeeded him. The new king decided.
The king's decision was unusual as Coloman was older than Álmos and elder brothers were ordained priests. The 14th-century Illuminated Chronicle stated that Coloman was "of mean stature, but astute and quick of apprehension", adding that he was "shaggy and hirsute, half-blind and humpbacked, he walked with a limp and stammered in his speech". If the chronicle preserved genuine tradition of his appearance, his physical deformity may have influenced his uncle's decision. However, modern scholars tend to refute this view, emphasizing that the chronicle was completed in the reigns of kings descending from Álmos. In preparation for his clerical life, Coloman learnt to read and write and acquired a good knowledge of Latin, his proficiency in canon law was praised in a letter that Pope Urban II addressed to him in 1096. According to Kristó, upon finishing his studies he was ordained priest and in the early 1090s was appointed bishop. Hungarian chronicles completed in the 14th and 15th centuries say that Coloman was bishop of either Eger or Várad.
For instance, the Illuminated Chronicle states, he was "bishop of Warad", Ladislaus I wanted to appoint him "bishop of Agria". According to the Illuminated Chronicle, both Coloman and Álmos accompanied their uncle on a military campaign against Bohemia in early 1095. Before reaching the border of his kingdom, Ladislaus I "was overcome by a grave infirmity" and decided to appoint Álmos as his heir. Instead of obeying his uncle's decision, Coloman fled to Poland, he returned to Hungary around 29 July 1095. The exact circumstances of his ascension to the throne are uncertain; the Illuminated Chronicle states Ladislaus had invited him back from Poland. The same source adds that Álmos, "in the true simplicity of his heart honoured his brother and yielded to him the crown of the kingdom", which suggests that he ascended the throne without bloodshed. On the other hand, Coloman was crowned king in early 1096, the delay implying that the two brothers had been fighting for the crown before they reached an agreement.
It is possible, as proposed by Font, that he could only be crowned after Pope Urban II had released him from his clerical vows. Coloman was crowned in Székesfehérvár by Arc
Samuel Aba reigned as King of Hungary between 1041 and 1044. He was born to a prominent family with extensive domains in the region of the Mátra Hills. Based on reports in the Gesta Hungarorum and other Hungarian chronicles about the non-Hungarian origin of the Aba family, modern historians write that the Abas headed the Kabar tribes that seceded from the Khazar Khaganate and joined the Hungarians in the 9th century. Around 1009, Samuel or his father married a sister of the first King of Hungary. Thereafter the pagan or Jewish Aba family converted to Christianity. King Stephen appointed Samuel to head the royal court as his palatine. However, the king died in 1038, the new monarch, Peter the Venetian, removed Samuel from his post; the Hungarian lords elected Samuel king. According to the unanimous narration of the Hungarian chronicles, Samuel preferred commoners to noblemen, causing discontent among his former partisans, his execution of many opponents brought him into conflict with Bishop Gerard of Csanád.
In 1044, Peter the Venetian returned with the assistance of the German monarch, Henry III, who defeated Samuel's larger army at the battle of Ménfő near Győr. Samuel was captured and killed. According to the anonymous author of the Gesta Hungarorum, Samuel's family descended from two "Cuman" chieftains, Ed and Edemen, who received "a great land in the forest of Mátra" from Árpád, Grand Prince of the Hungarians around 900. In contrast, the Illuminated Chronicle and other 14th-century Hungarian chronicles describe Ed and Edemen as the sons of Csaba – himself a son of Attila the Hun – by a lady from Khwarezm. Since all Hungarian chronicles emphasize the Oriental – either "Cuman" or "Khwarezmian" – origin of Ed and Edemen, Gyula Kristó, László Szegfű and other historians propose that the Aba clan descending from them ruled the Kabars, a people of Khazar origin who joined the Hungarians in the middle of the 9th century, before the Hungarians' arrival in the Carpathian Basin around 895. Kristó argues that both Samuel's Khazar origin and his first name suggest that he was born to a family that adhered to Judaism.
Despite the uncertainty over the clan's origins, Samuel undoubtedly descended from a distinguished family, since an unnamed sister of Stephen I, who had in 1000 or 1001 been crowned the first King of Hungary, was given in marriage to a member of the Aba clan around 1009. However, historians still debate whether Samuel himself or Samuel's father married the royal princess. If Samuel was her husband, he must have been born before 990 and converted – either from Judaism or paganism – to Christianity when he married Stephen I's sister, his Christian credentials are further evidenced by Samuel's establishment of an abbey at Abasár, recorded by Hungarian chronicles. According to Gyula Kristó and other historians, Samuel's conversion coincided with the creation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Eger encompassing his domains. Samuel held important offices during the reign of King Stephen. Pál Engel proposes that Abaújvár was named after him, implying that he was the first ispán, or head, of that fortress and the county surrounding it.
Samuel became the first palatine of Hungary. The death of King Stephen on 15 August 1038 led to his nephew, Peter Orseolo of Venice, ascending to the throne; the new monarch preferred his German and Italian courtiers and set aside the native lords, including Samuel. In 1041, discontented Hungarian noblemen expelled King Peter in a coup d'état and elected Samuel king.... King Aba began to rage cruelly against the Hungarians. For he held that all things should be in common between servants. Despising the nobles of the kingdom, he consorted with commoners; the Hungarian nobles were unwilling to endure this from him, chafing under this insulting behaviour they conspired and plotted that they would kill him. But one of them informed the King of the conspiracy against his life, whereupon the King imprisoned as many of them as he could and had them put to death without examination or trial, which did great damage to his cause. Samuel abolished all laws introduced by Peter the Venetian and had many of his predecessor's supporters killed or tortured.
The contemporaneous Hermann of Reichenau called him "the tyrant of Hungary" in his Chronicon. Hungarian chronicles criticized Samuel for socializing with the peasants instead of the nobles. Samuel abolished some levies payable by the commoners. Following his ousting, Peter the Venetian took refuge in Germany. In response, Samuel stormed Austria in 1042, provoking a retaliatory invasion by the German monarch, Henry III in 1043, it forced Samuel to renounce all Hungarian territories to the west of the rivers Leitha and Morava as well as agree to the payment of a tribute. The funding of the tribute payment was through new taxes on the Christian prelates and seizure of Church estates; this policy caused discontent among the members of Samuel's own council. He had a number of his councillors executed during Lent. In order to punish the king, Bishop Gerard of Csanád refused to perform the annual ceremony of putting the royal crown Gerard upon the monarch's head at Easter. King Henry III again invaded Hungary in 1044 to restore Peter the Venetian.
The decisive battle was fought at Ménfő near Győr. Samuel's fate following the battle is still uncertain. According to nearly contemporaneous German sources, he was captured in short order and executed on Peter the Venetian's command. However, 14th-century Hungarian chronicles narrate th
Géza, Grand Prince of the Hungarians
Géza Gejza, was Grand Prince of the Hungarians from the early 970s. He was the son of his Oriental -- Khazar, Pecheneg or Volga Bulgarian -- wife, he married a daughter of an Eastern Orthodox Hungarian chieftain. After ascending the throne, Géza made peace with the Holy Roman Empire. Within Hungary, he consolidated his authority with extreme cruelty, according to the unanimous narration of nearly contemporaneous sources, he was the first Hungarian monarch to support Christian missionaries from Western Europe. Although he was baptised, his Christian faith remained shallow and he continued to perform acts of pagan worship, he was succeeded by his son, Stephen, crowned the first King of Hungary in 1000 or 1001. Géza was the elder son of Grand Prince of the Hungarians, his mother was his father's wife "from the land of the Cumans", according to the anonymous author of the Gesta Hungarorum. This anachronistic reference to the Cumans suggests that she was of Khazar, Pecheneg or Volga Bulgarian origin.
The Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, who listed the descendants of Grand Prince Árpád around 950, did not mention Géza. So, Gyula Kristó wrote that Géza was born around 940 and the emperor ignored him because of his youth; the genuine form of his name was either "Gyeücsa" or "Gyeusa", a diminutive form of the Turkic title yabgu. Géza's father arranged his marriage with Sarolt—a daughter of a Hungarian chieftain called Gyula, who ruled Transylvania independently of the grand prince and had converted to Christianity in Constantinople. Sarolt seems to have adhered to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, according to Bruno of Querfurt's remark on her "languid and muddled Christianity". Géza succeeded his father around 972, he adopted a centralizing policy. The longer version of his son's Life states that Géza's hands were "defiled with blood". Pál Engel wrote that Géza carried out a "large-scale purge" against his relatives, which explains the lack of references to other members of the Árpád dynasty from around 972.
Koppány, who continued to rule the southern parts of Transdanubia, is the only exception to this dearth of references. A marriage alliance between the German and Byzantine dynasties brought about a rapprochement between the two powers neighboring Hungary in 972. Géza decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire. First, a monk named Bruno sent by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor arrived in Hungary around 972. Hungarian "legates" were present at a conference held by the emperor in Quedlinburg in 973. Geyza, strict and cruel, acting in a domineering way, as it were, with his own people, but compassionate and generous with strangers with Christians, although still entangled in the rite of paganism. At the approach of the light of spiritual grace, he began to discuss peace attentively with all the neighboring provinces... Moreover, he laid down a rule that the favor of hospitality and security be shown to all Christians wishing to enter to his domains, he gave monks leave to enter his presence. A record on one Bishop Prunwart in the Abbey of Saint Gall mentions his success in baptising many Hungarians, including their "king".
The nearly contemporaneous Thietmar of Merseburg confirms that the conversion to Christianity of the pagan Hungarians started under Géza, who became the first Christian ruler of Hungary. His baptismal name was Stephen. However, Géza continued to observe pagan cults, which proves that his conversion to Christianity was never complete. Kristó and other historians have said that the first Roman Catholic diocese in Hungary, with its seat in Veszprém, was set up in Géza's reign, but their view has not been unanimously accepted. A charter issued during his son's reign states that Géza was the founder of the Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey. was cruel and killed many people because of his quick temper. When he became a Christian, however, he turned his rage against his reluctant subjects, in order to strengthen this faith. Thus, glowing with zeal for God, he washed away his old crimes, he sacrificed both to various false gods. When reproached by his priest for doing so, however, he maintained that the practice had brought him both wealth and great power.
Taking advantage of internal conflicts which emerged in the Holy Roman Empire after Emperor Otto I's death, Géza invaded Bavaria and took the fortress of Melk in 983. In 991, the Bavarians launched a counter-attack which forced Géza to withdraw Hungarian forces from the territories east of the Vienna Woods. Furthermore, he renounced the lands east of the river Leitha in his peace treaty of 996 with Henry IV of Bavaria. Géza arranged the marriage of his son and heir Stephen to Henry IV's sister Giselle. Before this marriage alliance, Géza convoked the Hungarian leaders to an assembly and forced them to take an oath confirming his son's right to succeed him. Sarolt gave birth to at least three of Géza's children. Sarolt survived Géza, which suggests that she was the mother of Géza's daughters. Based on the Polish-Hungarian Chronicle, Szabolcs de Vajay wrote that the daughters' mother was Géza's alleged second wife Adelaide of Poland, but this has not been accepted; the following family tree presents his offspring.
*Whether Menumorut is an actual or an invented person is debated by modern scholars.**A Khazar, Pecheneg or Volga Bulgarian lady.***Samuel Aba might have been Géza's grandson instead of his son-in-la
Principality of Hungary
The Principality of Hungary or Duchy of Hungary was the earliest documented Hungarian state in the Carpathian Basin, established 895 or 896, following the 9th century Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. The Hungarians, a semi-nomadic people forming a tribal alliance led by Árpád, arrived from Etelköz, their earlier principality east of the Carpathians. During the period, the power of the Hungarian Grand Prince seemed to be decreasing irrespective of the success of the Hungarian military raids across Europe; the tribal territories, ruled by Hungarian warlords, became semi-independent polities. These territories were united again only under the rule of St. Stephen; the semi-nomadic Hungarian population adopted settled life. The chiefdom society changed to a state society. From the second half of the 10th century, Christianity started to spread; the principality was succeeded by the Christian Kingdom of Hungary with the coronation of St Stephen I at Esztergom on Christmas Day 1000. The Hungarian historiography calls the entire period from 896 to 1000 "the age of principality".
The ethnonym of the Hungarian tribal alliance is uncertain. According to one view, following Anonymus's description, the federation was called "Hetumoger / Seven Magyars", though the word "Magyar" comes from the name of the most prominent Hungarian tribe, called Megyer; the tribal name "Megyer" became "Magyar" referring to the Hungarian people as a whole. Written sources called Magyars "Hungarians" prior to the conquest of the Carpathian Basin when they still lived on the steppes of Eastern Europe. In contemporary Byzantine sources, written in Greek, the country was known as "Western Tourkia" in contrast to eastern or Khazar Tourkia; the Jewish Hasdai ibn Shaprut around 960 called the polity "the land of the Hungrin" in a letter to Joseph of the Khazars. On the eve of the arrival of the Hungarians, around 895, East Francia, the First Bulgarian Empire and Great Moravia ruled the territory of the Carpathian Basin; the Hungarians had much knowledge about this region because they were hired as mercenaries by the surrounding polities and had led their own campaigns in this area for decades.
This area had been sparsely populated, since Charlemagne's destruction of the Avar state in 803 and the Magyars were able to move in unopposed, peacefully. The newly unified Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895; the East Frankish vassal Balaton Principality in Transdanubia was subjugated during a Hungarian campaign in the direction of Italy around 899-900. Great Moravia was annihilated between 902 and 907 and a part of it, the former Principality of Nitra, became a part of the Hungarian state; the south-eastern parts of the Carpathian Basin were under the rule of the First Bulgarian Empire, however the Bulgarians lost their dominance due to the Hungarian conquest. The control prior to the Hungarian settlement of territory of Solitudo Avarorum, where remnants of the Avars lived, has not yet been clarified; the principality as a warrior state, with a new-found military might, conducted vigorous raids ranging from Constantinople to central Spain. Three major Frankish imperial armies were defeated decisively by the Hungarians between 907 and 910.
The Hungarians succeeded in extending the de iure Bavarian-Hungarian border to the River Enns, the principality was not attacked from this direction for 100 years after the Battle of Pressburg. The intermittent Hungarian campaigns lasted until 970, however two military defeats in 955 and 970 marked a shift in the evolution of the Hungarian principality; the change from a ranked chiefdom society to a state society was one of the most important developments during this time. The Magyars retained a semi-nomadic lifestyle, practising transhumance: they would migrate along a river between winter and summer pastures, finding water for their livestock. According to Györffy's theory derived from placenames, Árpád's winter quarters -clearly after his occupation of Pannonia in 900- were in'Árpádváros', now a district of Pécs, his summer quarters -as confirmed by Anonymus- were on Csepel Island, his new summer quarters were in Csallóköz according to this theory, however the exact location of the early center of the state is disputed.
According to Gyula Kristó the center was located between the Danube and Tisza rivers, however the archaeological findings imply the location in the region of the Upper Tisza. Constantine VII's De Administrando Imperio, written around 950 AD, tries to define the whole land of the Hungarians Tourkia. Constantine described the previous inhabitants of Hungary, determined early Hungarian settlements, located Hungarian rivers, gave the neighbors of the Hungarians. Constantine had much more knowledge about the eastern parts of Hungary, according to one theory, Tourkia did not mean the land of the whole federation but a tribal settlement and the source of the description of Hungary could have been Gyula whose tribe populated the five rivers around 950. According to another hypothesis based on Constantine's description, the Hungarians started to settle western Hung
Árpád was the head of the confederation of the Hungarian tribes at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries. He might have been either the sacred ruler or kende of the Hungarians, or their military leader or gyula, although most details of his life are debated by historians, because different sources contain contradictory information. Despite this, many Hungarians refer to him as the "founder of our country", Árpád's preeminent role in the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin has been emphasized by some chronicles; the dynasty descending from Árpád ruled the Kingdom of Hungary until 1301. Árpád was the son of Álmos, mentioned as the first head of the confederation of the Hungarian tribes by all Hungarian chronicles. His mother's name and family are unknown. According to historian Gyula Kristó, Árpád was born around 845, his name derived from the Hungarian word for barley, árpa, of Turkic origin. The Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus states that the Hungarians "had never at any time had any other prince" before Árpád, in sharp contrast to the Hungarian chronicles' report of the position of Árpád's father.
In Porphyrogenitus's narration, the Khazar khagan initiated the centralization of the command of the Hungarian tribes in order to strengthen his own suzerainty over them. The khagan wanted to appoint a chieftain named Levedi to lead the Hungarians. However, Levedi did not accept this offer and suggested that either Álmos or Árpád should be promoted instead of him; the khagan approached the Hungarians with this new proposal. They preferred Árpád to his father, because he was "greatly admired for wisdom and counsel and valour, capable of this rule". Thereafter, Árpád was made "prince according to the custom... of the Chazars, by lifting him upon a shield." Constantine Porphyrogenitus refers to Árpád as "great prince of Turkey". The reliability of the Byzantine emperor's report of Árpád's election is debated by modern historians: for instance, Victor Spinei states that it is "rather vague and scarcely credible", but András Róna-Tas writes that its core is reliable; the latter historian adds that Árpád's election was promoted by Álmos who forced Levedi kende to renounce.
Accordingly, in Róna-Tas's view, Árpád succeeded Levedi as sacred ruler or kende, which enabled his father to preserve his own position of the actual leader of the Hungarians or gyula. The earliest reliable source of Árpád's life is an early 10th-century document, the Continuation of the Chronicle by George the Monk, it narrates that the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise sent his envoy Nicetas Sclerus to the Hungarians in 894 or 895 "to give presents" and incite them against the Bulgarian Empire. Sclerus met with Árpád and Kurszán, at the Lower Danube. Sclerus's mission succeeded: a Hungarian army soon crossed the Danube on Byzantine ships against Bulgaria. An interpolation in Porphyrogenitus's text suggests that the invading Hungarians were under the command of Árpád's son, Liüntika; the positions held by Árpád and Kurszán at the time of their negotiations with Sclerus are debated by historians. Spinei wrote that Árpád was the gyula, Kurszán was the kende. In contrast, Kristó said that Kurszán was the gyula and Árpád represented his father, Álmos kende.
At that time, the Bulgarians had disregarded the peace treaty and were raiding through the Thracian countryside. Justice pursued them for breaking their oath to Christ our God, the emperor of all, they met up with their punishment. While our forces were engaged against the Saracens, divine Providence led the, in place of the Romans, to campaign against the Bulgarians. Our Majesty's fleet of ships supported them and ferried them across the Danube. sent them out against the army of the Bulgarians that had so wickedly taken up arms against Christians and, as though they were public executioners, they decisively defeated them in three engagements, so that the Christian Romans might not willingly stain themselves with the blood of the Christian Bulgarians. The Hungarian army defeated the Bulgarians; the Bulgarians and Pechenegs invaded the Hungarians' territories in the western regions of the Pontic steppes in 895 or 896. The destruction of their dwelling places by the Pechenegs forced the Hungarians to leave for a new homeland across the Carpathian Mountains towards the Pannonian Plain.
The Illuminated Chronicle says that Árpád's father Álmos "could not enter Pannonia, for he was killed in Erdelw" or Transylvania. Engel, Kristó and Molnár, who accept the reliability of this report, wrote that Álmos's death was a ritual murder, similar to the sacrifice of the Khazar khagans in case of a disaster affecting their people. In contrast with them, Róna-Tas states that if the report on Álmos's murder "reflects true event, the only possible explanation would be that Árpád or someone in his entourage" killed the aged prince. Spinei rejects the Illuminated Chronicle's report on Álmos's murder in Transylvania, because the last mention of Álmos in the contrasting narration of the Gesta Hungarorum is connected to a siege of Ungvár by the Hungarians; the latter chronicle says that Álmos appointed Árpád "as leader and master" of the Hungarians on this occasion. Árpád's name "is unknown" to all sources written in East Francia, one of the main powers of the Carpathian Basin at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries.
These sources, including the Annales Alamannici and the Annales Eisnidlenses, only mention another Hungarian leader, Kurszán. According to Kristó and other historians, these sources suggest that Kurszán must have been the