1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coloman

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COLOMAN (1070–1116), king of Hungary, was the son of King Geza of Hungary by a Greek concubine. King Ladislaus would have made the book-loving youth a monk, and even designated him for the see of Eger; but Coloman had no inclination for an ecclesiastical career, and, with the assistance of his friends, succeeded in escaping to Poland. On the death of Ladislaus (1095), he returned to Hungary and seized the crown, passing over his legitimately born younger brother Almos, the son of the Greek princess Sinadene. Almos did not submit to this usurpation, and was more or less of an active rebel till 1108, when the emperor Henry V. espoused his cause and invaded Hungary. The Germans were unsuccessful; but Coloman thought fit to be reconciled with his kinsman and restored to him his estates. Five years later, however, fearing lest his brother might stand in the way of his heir, the infant prince Stephen, Coloman imprisoned Almos and his son Béla in a monastery and had them blinded. Despite his adoption of these barbarous Byzantine methods, Coloman was a good king and a wise ruler. In foreign affairs he preserved the policy of St Ladislaus by endeavouring to provide Hungary with her greatest need, a suitable seaboard. In 1097 he overthrew Peter, king of Croatia, and acquired the greater part of Dalmatia, though here he encountered formidable rivals in the Greek and German emperors, Venice, the pope and the Norman-Italian dukes, all equally interested in the fate of that province, so that Coloman had to proceed cautiously in his expansive policy. By 1102, however, Zara, Traú, Spalato and all the islands as far as the Cetina were in his hands. But it was as a legislator and administrator that Coloman was greatest (see Hungary: History). He was not only one of the most learned, but also one of the most statesmanlike sovereigns of the earlier middle ages. Coloman was twice married, (1) in 1097 to Buzella, daughter of Roger, duke of Calabria, the chief supporter of the pope, and (2) in 1112 to the Russian princess, Euphemia, who played him false and was sent back in disgrace to her kinsfolk the following year. Coloman died on the 3rd of February 1116.