The Battle of Rozgony

The Aftermath

Several key members of the Aba family, and many others, perished during the Battle of Rozgony. Some of the Aba's estates were divided between the Catholic Church, Charles, and their loyal supporters. However, at the end it was Charles who in attempt to deal with his own devastating economic situation in his newly acquired kingdom, once again petitioned the Aba family for their assistance to deal with his economic problem. In 1315, not even three years after the Battle of Rozgony, Charles appointed Lord Demeter Nekcsei Aba as his Royal Treasurer and the "man number one" responsible for implementing new economic reforms. Demeter remained in this position until his natural death in 1338.

During the course of May 1316, Charles was struggling with the pressure imposed on him by the western Aba Koszeghi family for not keeping his commitment for their earlier support. At the same time, the eastern rebellion led by Palatine Kopasz Borsa, who offered the Holy Crown of Hungary to King Andrew of Halych, a descendant of King Bela IV of Hungary. In both cases Charles' managed to avoid the conflict by negotiating terms on the battlefield just minutes before an open engagement took place.

One year later on May 1317, on the battlefield, Charles was negotiating terms once again. He was facing overwhelming army of Amade Aba's sons who protested hostile take-overs of some of their properties by Charles' followers. This time, apart from putting an end to his supporters activities, Charles also had to return some of the castles he previously taken from the Abas, in hope to prevent military confrontation.

By early 1317 Charles was facing another financial disaster in line of many before. In an attempt to raise money he turned against his longest and strongest ally, the Roman Catholic Church itself, by seizing their ecclesiastical properties. In 1318, Prelates of the Church demanded that the Estates (The little Kings) of the realm be summoned to a general assembly in the attempt to form an alliance against Charles, and to put an end to him. The irony of their request was that it was only a few years before that the Church of Rome conspired and took an active role in over-throwing the Estates in favour of Charles Robert of Anjou as the king of Hungary. As it was anticipated, the Estates had no objections to king's new policies and at their July assembly, they simply said, "no" to the Prelates.

After Charles' first wife's death, the widowed Charles in September 1318 married Beatrix of Luxemburg, daughter of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor, assumable that he would receive financial and military assistance from her family for his expeditions that he needed for dealing with Serbians at the southern frontier. By the summer of 1319, he had to lead his armies against King Stefan Uros II Milutin of Serbia, who had occupied the southern part of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Following his military expedition to Serbia, Charles began to be even more creative in trying to find new ways to generate money. He declared that it is only he, the king, who is entitled to open new custom-houses in the Kingdom and benefit from them. He created a new wave of resistance from the Estates, since it was the Estates which on their own expense maintained the security of the Hungarian frontier.

When Charles' second wife Beatrix and their only new-born child died on October 11, 1319, the official statement was that both, mother and the child died due to childbirth complications. For many who knew Charles' financial affairs and his lack of moral values, questioned the official explanation. It was known that Charles could no longer benefit from his marriage to Beatrix of Lunenburg since her family refused to provide him with financial assistance for his expansion programs. His next expedient marriage to Elisabeth, daughter of King Wladislaus I of Poland on July 6, 1320, only few months after burying his wife and child raises some important questions as to what actually happened on October 11, 1319, if nothing more.

The death of Mate Csak on March 21, 1321 resulted in the disintegration of his land due to Charles' dubious attitude towards all treaties between himself and the Estates. Within a short period of time, Charles had occupied all of the Csak castles, fortresses and lands.

Deterioration of the southern frontier

It took over 300 years for the Arpad kings to encircle the whole southern frontier of Hungary with several military colonies (banates), such as Little Wallachia (southern part of present-day Romania) and the northern part of present-day Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia. However, Charles carelessly redistributed these territories to his supporters in an attempt to consolidate his reign. The results of his actions among other discords also brought immense ethnic and religious tension in the region. Since the predominant religion of these territories was Greek-Orthodox, the forceful proselytization to Catholicism provoked violent rebellions.

Prior to 1320, Western Wallachia (Oltenia) was regarded by the Hungarians as part of the banate of Szoreny (Severin). However, when the Wallachian ruler, Basarab I showed signs of disobedience, Charles led his poorly prepared army of mercenaries into Wallachia. This caused him to return just after occupying only several small towns. Upon his return from Wallachia on November 9, 1330, his army led by incompetent mercenary commanders, such as Sicilian Drugeth brothers, who during their retreat got lost in the mountains and as a result of it Charles was forced to sign a peace treaty with Basarab I, who vowed to show them out of the mountains. Shortly thereafter, the Wallachians reneged the treaty and trapped the Hungarians in an ambush at Posada. The disaster almost entirely wiped out Charles's army and King Charles himself barely escaped. During the battle, he exchanged his clothing with one of his common soldiers and took to flight. This ridiculous incident marked the beginning of Wallachia as an independent voivodeship. However, at the same time, it almost destroyed the Kingdom of Hungary.

By 1337, Charles rebuilt his army again and found himself in conflict with the Holy Roman Empire itself. However, unknown to Charles, the Wallachian ambush incident sent a loud message of Charles' incompetence to the neighbouring countries. And since Charles in south-eastern European was more keener on securing his own regimes than securing his defences, the Ottoman Turks had already secured Asia Minor under the Sultans Osman I and Orhan I and planned to invade south-eastern Europe to consolidate their realm.

Before Charles Robert of Anjou died at Visegrad, Hungary in 1342, his selfish and dubious life, packed with intrigues, greatly contributed to the loss of several Hungarian territories to the Ottoman Turks, depleted the ethnic population, created religious intolerance and disrupted the entire social infrastructure of the country and not to mention the depletion of the state treasury.

This was a very devastating time in Hungarian history in which the Church of Rome played such an offensive role against the realm and its population. Even to this day some of Catholic historians claim that Charles Robert of Anjou was the best thing for Hungary. They call it "The beginning of the Golden Age in Hungary."

Rozgony

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