The Battle of Rozgony

Charles Robert of Anjou - before the Battle of Rozgony

Charles I (1288 - 16 July 1342), also known as Charles Robert (Caroberto), from July 12, 1312 to July 16, 1342 was the first King of Hungary and Croatia of the House of Anjou. His claim to the throne of Hungary was very weak. However, he had a strong support from the Roman Catholic Church, especially from the Pope Clement V.

Charles Robert of Anjou was born in 1288, in Naples, Italy, the only son of Charles Martel, Prince of Salerno and his wife Clementina, a daughter of King Rudolph I of Germany. His paternal grandmother, Mary, a daughter of King Stephen V of Hungary, declared her claim to Hungary following the death of her brother, King Ladislaus IV of Hungary. As well, the political situation in Hungary was such, that the majority of the country accepted the rule of King Andrew III anyway. Nevertheless, Mary transferred her "claim to Hungary" to her eldest son, Charles Martel (January 6, 1292) who was also the heir to the Kingdom of Naples but was never able to enforce his claim in Hungary against King Andrew III and died on August 19, 1295. The next candidate was his son Charles Robert of Anjou, who was only a 12 years-old child when his grandfather, King Charles II of Naples sent him to Hungary in 1300, to be educated by Roman Catholic clerics and make his claim to the throne of Hungary.

After his father's death, the 12-year old Charles "inherited the claim" to Hungary, but his grandfather, King Charles II of Naples appointed his younger son (Charles' paternal uncle), Robert to his heir in the Kingdom of Naples on February 13, 1296. So, on February 27, 1297, Charles Robert of Anjou, lost his claim to the Neapolitan throne.

The weakening of royal authority under Stephen V of Hungary allowed the House of Subic to regain their former role in Dalmatia. Soon thereafter Ladislaus IV of Hungary recognized the balance of power in Dalmatia and named Croatian magnate Paul I Subic of Bribir as Ban of Croatia and Dalmatia. Ladislaus IV died in 1290 leaving no sons, and a civil war began between the rival candidates pro-Hungarian Andrew III of Hungary, and pro-Croatian Charles Martel of Anjou. Charles Martel's father Charles II of Naples, awarded all Croatia from Gvozd Mountain (Croatian: Petrova Gora) to the river Neretva as a hereditary domain of Paul I Subic. For this gracious gift at the beginning of 1300, Paul I Subic accepted Charles as a titular hair to the Kingdom and invited him to invade Hungary to claim his right. His grandfather accepted the invitation and granted Charles a smaller amount of money and sent him to Hungary to enforce his claim against King Andrew III. Charles disembarked in Split in August 1300 and went to Zagreb where he was accepted as "King of Hungary" by Ugrin Csak, another influential magnate of the Kingdom.

When King Andrew III died on January 14th, 1301, Charles' supporters took him to Esztergom where the Archbishop Gregory Bicskei crowned him with a replacement crown since the Holy Crown of Hungary was guarded by his opponents. The majority of the magnates of the Kingdom, however, did not accept his rule and proclaimed Wenceslaus, the son of Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, their king. The young Wenceslaus accepted the election and was immediately engaged to the daughter of King Andrew III and was crowned in Szekesfehervar by Archbishop John of Kalocsa with the Holy Crown of Hungary.

Immediately after Wenceslaus coronation Charles shamefully withdrew to Slavonia. However, in September 1302, he attempted to lay siege of Buda. The confrontation was short-lived and had to withdraw to back Slavonia once again. Nevertheless, Pope Boniface VIII confirmed Charles' claim to Hungary on May 31st, 1303 and his maternal uncle, King Albert I of Germany also provided him military assistance. Charles at that time wasn't even 15 years of age.

In the summer of 1304, King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia arrived in Hungary in order to help his son strengthen his rule. However, the King of Bohemia quickly came to realise that his son's position in Hungary was unstable; therefore, he decided to return to Bohemia. His son followed him shortly there-after. Upon hearing of this, Charles made an alliance with Duke Rudolph I of Austria and attacked Bohemia. Since they could not occupy even the Castle of Kutna Hora, Charles had to retreat to southern Slavonia again.

In August 1305, Wenceslaus who had inherited Bohemia from his father, renounced his claim to Hungary on behalf of Otto III, Duke of Bavaria, who was a grandson of King Bela IV of Hungary. Otto soon arrived in Hungary and on December 6th, 1305 was crowned with the Holy Crown of Hungary in Szekesfehervar by the Bishops of Veszprem and Csanad. However, Otto was not able to strengthen his rule either. During the course of 1306, Charles occupied Esztergom, Spis Castle, Zvolen and some other fortresses in the northern parts of Hungary. In the following year, he also occupied Buda. In response to this, in June 1307, Duke Otto III travelled to Transylvania in hope to form an alliance with powerful Voivode (Duke) of Transylvania, Ladislaus Kan. Unfortunately, for Otto, instead of an alliance he was arrested by the Voivod Kan.

On October 10th, 1307, several local barons who were present at the assembly in Rakos proclaimed Charles their king, but the most powerful Lords and Palatines, such as Mate Csak, Amade Aba and Ladislaus Kan, ignored Charles's appointment. At the end of the year, Ladislaus Kan released Otto III, Duke of Bavaria but refused to hand over the Holy Crown of Hungary to Charles.

Struggles with the magnates

After Otto's departure from Transylvania, Charles stood alone as the claimant to the throne of Hungary. However, even then, the large parts of his Kingdom was under the rule of powerful Lords (Little Kings) and his own "alleged supporter" ignored his royal prerogatives. His position slightly strengthened when the legate of Pope Clement V, Cardinal Montefiore arrived at Hungary in June 1308, and persuaded by threat of excommunication anyone who wouldn't support Charles' claim to the Hungarian tron. Eventual Papal legate also found his way all the way to Transylvania in the attempt to retrieve the Holy Crown of Hungary from Voivod Kan. After an unsuccessful visit, Cardinal Montofiore excommunicated Kan and on June 15th, 1309, which forced Archbishop Tamas of Esztergom to crown Charles with a shift-made crown.

Discontentment grew against Charles and during the summer of 1311, Mate Csak laid siege to Charles' capital in Buda. Shortly afterwards, Charles had Amade Aba murdered in Kassa, who at one point was one of Charles' main eastern supporters. In retaliation, Amade Aba's sons allied themselves with Mate Csak against Charles.

In May 1312, Charles laid siege to Saros Castle within Aba Dominion but was forced to retreat. Following his retreat the allied armies of Mate Csak and Amade Aba's sons marched against Charles's camp near Kassa. Eventually on June 15th, both sides confronted each other at the battlefield near a small settlement of Rozgony located only 5 km east from Kassa.

Pope Clement V...

Rozgony

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