Béla II, King (circa.1108 - 13 February 1141) – King of the House of Árpád; son of Prince Álmos. King Kálmán (Coloman) blinded him at the age of five along with his father. He became known as “Béla the Blind” (Vak Béla). In 1129 King István II (Stephen) named him as his successor. He was crowned on 28 April 1131. He married Ilona (Helena), daughter of Serbian Prince Uros, who excercised a great influence on her husband. She persuaded him to settle accounts with the magnates who had been responsible for blinding him in 1136 at Arad. She was responsible for the massacre of 68 distinguished nobles, while others were sentenced to prison term and loss of property. From Spalato (now Split, Dalmatia) Béla occupied Bosnia and the nearby territory of Rama on the right banks of the River Sava, for which he assumed the title of King of Rama. He established the Provostship of Arad and the Abbey of Földvár. He died in 1141 and buried at Székesfehérvár. – B: 0883, 1133, T: 3312.→Árpád, House of.
Béla III, King (1148 - 23 April, 1196) – King of the House of Árpád, second son of King Géza II. He was educated in the Byzantine Court, according to an arrangement between his brother King István III (Stephen) and Byzantine Emperor Manuel, who made him his heir but reneged on his promise when a son was born to him. Béla married the Emperor’s half-sister. After the death of King István III, he succeeded to the throne in 1172 and was crowned with the Pope’s consent by the Archbishop of Kalocsa. In 1180-1181 his alliance with Manuel came to an end when Manuel died and Béla occupied Dalmatia. He continued his expedition against Venice and gained recognition of Hungary’s supremacy. He supported trade, commercial ventures and the sciences. During his reign, political, cultural and ecclesiastical relationships were developed with the Western countries, especially with France. He was true to the beliefs of Western Christianity despite his Greek upbringing. He invited the French Cistercian Order to teach his people the arts of agriculture and building construction. Later they spread the art of animal husbandry and the sciences. He maintained favorable relations with the Pope and the ruling family of France. He was cautious and maintained a neutral diplomacy with the Holy Roman Emperor. At this time the Hungarian court was one of the most attractive centers of Europe. At the prompting of King Béla III (1172-1196), King László I (St Ladislas) (1077-1095) was canonized by the Church in 1192. Through the establishment of the Hungarian Chancellery he strengthened central control. During his 24 years reign Hungary’s power was on an equal footing with the western and eastern empires, and was Europe’s largest united country. On his large crown lands there were the rich gold mines, making him one of the richest rulers of Europe. His royal palace at Esztergom (excavated in the 1930s) was without parallel at that time. No great wars were fought either. His second wife was Margaret, French royal princess, the widow of the English crown prince Henry. One skirmish involved the naval fleet of Venice that was successfully repelled to retain Hungary’s rights on the Mediterranean Sea. Croatia, Bosnia, Wallachia (Havasalföld) in the Balkans and Halics in the north remained feudal vassals of Hungary. Béla III was buried in Székesfehérvár. In 1848 his remains were discovered and laid to rest in the Mátyás (Matthias) Church in Buda. – B: 0883, 1133, T: 3312.→Árpád, House of; Béla III, King; László I, King.