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AARficionado & Storyteller
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Sep 24, 2003
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"Live not for yourself, but for glory." - A Magyar General​


A Brief History of Hungary before 1400

The earliest credible record of the emergence of the Magyars was in 837 A.D. by the Byzantine historian, Georgius Monachus. It is in this record that a pagan people called the Ungri or Hun (1) were sought for an alliance by the Bulgarian Empire to fight against a Macedonian rebellion. These Huns were defeated and the Macedonian rebellion succeeded.

With the fall of the Bulgarian Empire, the seven Magyar tribes moved west and settled in a region called Etelkuzu, located near the rivers Dnieper and Prut. It is here that the Magyars began to be acquainted with history. The new Grand Prince of this tribal federation and region granted by Khagan of the Khazars and approved by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine was Arpad. This would be a defining and significant event in Magyar history.


Arpad, Grand Prince of the Magyars

During these early years of Arpad’s rule, the Magyars would regularly raid the neighboring East Slavic tribes and sell their captives to Byzantium. A few records exist today of the description of the Magyars during this time. In no way were they ever considered barbarians. They were sophisticated and respected by the Byzantines and other local rulers. Ahmad ibn Rusta, a Muslim geographer recorded:

"These Magyars are a handsome people and of good appearance and their clothes are of silk brocade and their weapons are of silver and are encrusted with pearls."

The Magyars, entrusted by other rulers intervened in territorial disputes and struggles. With their numbers strengthened, the Magyars invaded the Carpathian Basin in 894. It is widely disputed why the Magyars invaded the Steppe. Some believe the Magyars were forced to migrate due to increasing pressure of other warring tribes especially the Petchenegs. While others believe the Magyars had planned the invasion to seek out better territory for their future country. In any case, the Magyars invaded the Carpathian Basin. The Magyars did not face much resistance and they secured their borders within twelve years of stepping into the region. As the Russian chronicler, Nestor summarizes:

“Coming from the east, they marched in haste over the high mountains, which are called the mountains of the Magyars, and began to fight against the Volochi, the people of East Francia and the Slavs who inhabited these countries. The Slavs had originally lived there, and the Volochi had subdued the country of the Slavs. Later, however, the Magyars drove out the Volochi, subdued the Slavs, and settled in their country. Since then, that region has been called Hungary.”

Following the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, the Magyars developed from a confederation of tribes into the Kingdom of Hungary. This kingdom was ruled by the Arpad dynasty and was considered the eastern-most bastion of Christianity. The Kingdom of Hungary grew into a very formidable feudal state, as they conquered territories including Croatia and Transylvania. In 1217, the King of Hungary, Andrew II led the 5th Crusade into the Holy Land. Andrew II created the largest royal army in the history of the Crusades. However, when he needed money to continue operations and tried to tax his serfs, the nobility rebelled. The King was forced to sign the Golden Bull of 1222, which became the very first constitution in Europe. It restricted the King’s power and gave more power to the lower nobility. It guarded against tyranny and allowed the nation to share in political power.

During the late 13th century, Hungary defended its lands with moderate success against the Mongols.(2) However, in 1301, King Andrew III unexpectedly died without any male heirs. The Arpad Dynasty saw Hungary become a powerful kingdom and have its greatest extent into Europe. Yet with the death of Andrew III, the Arpad dynasty died with him and Hungary would fall into anarchy for several years. The Barons of Hungary, vying for riches and power elected foreign kings to rule their land. The House of Anjou, a prominent family in Europe ruled Hungary from 1308 to 1382. During these years, Hungary experienced a golden age. Europe was in peace and Hungary prospered.

The death of King Louis the Great of Hungary in 1382; had severe repercussions for the state. In a bitter battle, the late king’s son in law, Sigismund of Luxembourg rose to power in 1386. The golden age of Hungary was declining and many nobles were angry with Sigismund for his cruelty during the succession struggle. Even with domestic trouble, Hungary began to fear the Turkish threat. In 1388, the Turks had conquered Bulgaria and defeated Serbia in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. With the threat of the Turks a serious reality, Sigismund led a crusade against the Ottoman Empire in 1396.


Sigismund I of Luxembourg, King of Hungary

On September 25, 1398, the combined forces of Hungary, France, Venice and the Knights Hospitaller were defeated by the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Nicopolis.(3) Sigismund barely survived the battle and fled on a fishing boat to the Venetian ships in Danube. This defeat would be the very last crusade in the middle ages and led to the continued dominance of the Ottoman Empire in the East.


French charge into the Ottoman lines, The Battle of Nicopolis

With the failed Crusade against the Ottomans, King Sigismund of Hungary had a daunting picture ahead of him. By 1399, Hungary was declining in fortune. The only relief for the Hungarians was that the Turks were occupied with the Timurid Empire in the east. Hungary could breathe slightly, but everyone knew the Turks would be back. Would the Turks destroy the Magyar state such as they did to Bulgaria and Serbia? Could Sigismund bring Hungary back to its former glory? These questions plagued the Magyars and it was only a matter of time until the answers would be given.


(1) - It must be noted that Hun should not be confused with the nomadic Huns who scourged Europe under the leadership of Attila the Hun in the 5th century. Many Hungarians to this day believe their ancestry can be traced back to Attila the Hun and his tribe, but it is hotly debated by most historians. Some ancestries may be able to be traced back to these nomadic huns, but the overall claim is strictly incredible.

(2) - The Mongols invaded Hungary twice during the 13th century. The first invasion was a complete disaster for the Hungarians as over half their entire nation's population died during the invasion. The Mongol advance only stopped due to Ogedei Khan's death in 1242. Due to his death, the Mongol's retreated and the rest of Europe was spared the horror the Hungarians had endured. The second invasion fared better for Hungary as they were able to defeat the Mongols repeatedly in the mid 1280s.

(3) - Many Hungarians including King Sigismund insisted that the defeat was solely the French's fault. The young French knights continued their cavalry charge into the Ottoman lines even with the persistent advice of other commanders to hold until the Hungarians arrived to assist in the attack. Their foolishness as Sigismund said, led to the entire failure of the Crusade.
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Welcome to my new AAR!

If you have read my past work before, then you will know that I strongly favor narrative AARs. I want to try something different this time. I will be writing a history-book AAR, yet I am not going completely away from narrative script either. Thrown into my AAR will be narrative bits, though I can not say when or how much will be present. It will all depend on my "writing bug" that likes to pester me plus the time I have available to write such narration.

Overall, this AAR will be image oriented. I like messing around with photoshop and illustrator so expect quite a few images. I absolutely love maps so they will appear quite often.

I also want to note that no, I have not finished either of my two other AARs. I wanted to finish my Scotland AAR, but it had been so long since I worked on it, that I am completely disconnected from the story plus I lost the saved file of the game. However, though life has given me my ups and downs, I am going to stay persistent in finishing this AAR. Even if it's just because if I don't, I wouldn't be able to show my face in this forum again due to the shame. :p

I love comments and criticism. If you want to see certain images/maps that I did not provide, please say so and I'll post them. Also, if you have any questions, advice or just merely want to state if you enjoy the AAR or not, please feel free to comment!

My goals in this game are as followed:

Short-Term Goals*

  • Survive against the Ottomans until I'm stronger
  • Protect against Poland until I'm stronger
  • Diplomatically annex Transylvania
  • Liberate Serbia and Bosnia from the Ottomans
  • Annex Serbia and Bosnia by diplomacy or war

Long-Term Goals*

  • Kick the Ottomans out of the Balkans
  • Conquer all of Eastern Europe including Poland and Lithuania
  • Destroy the Golden Horde
  • Convert the Rus to Catholicism
  • Maintain superiority against Austria and the Holy Roman Empire
  • Eventually become Holy Roman Emperor

*These goals may change during the course of the game.

Other than that, enjoy the AAR!

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate!
(With the help of God for Homeland and Freedom)
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First !!!

I will be following this AAR :)

Great to have you on board!

mayorqu said:
Second... *grumble grumble*

I can't say I have read your past work, but this sounds very good!

Thanks, I hope that I don't disappoint!

van5 said:
I love it Hungary needs more love

I COMPLETELY agree! I was looking in all the past AARs and I only saw one Hungary AAR in the whole joint! There were a couple Austria-Hungary AARs but only one solo Hun. I was a bit shocked since Hungary actually has a pretty fascinating history and its heritage is interesting.

Thank you all for the comments! The first chapter should be up tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

Chapter I - Securing the Luxembourg Line

The Kingdom of Hungary was in a state of perpetual friction between the Luxembourg royal house and the Hungarian nobles that filled the court. King Sigismund I of Luxembourg’s ascension to the throne was marred with political intrigue and even death. Sigismund married Mary, the Queen of Hungary in 1385. During this time, his mother in law, the Queen’s mother was acting as Regent of Hungary. Queen Mary and her mother, the Regent were captured by men who acted by the orders of the young Sigismund. Their captors subsequently strangled the Regent of Hungary, and for this act Mary never forgave Sigismund even when he supposedly punished the murderers. The King and Queen continued to live separately throughout the rest of the Queen’s life. In 1395, Queen Mary of Hungary died in a very suspicious horse accident while pregnant.

The circumstances of Sigismund’s rise to power created furor among loyalists of Mary’s line, but Sigismund gained most of the nobility’s support in the coming years after the Queen’s death and won the crown. However, even with the nobles’ support, Sigismund struggled for years for control of his throne. The King eventually had to pay off the few remaining dissident nobles by giving away royal lands. This still did not completely satisfy the nobles and the King was captured a few times during his early reign but skillfully bribed his way out of each occasion.

The crusading disaster in 1398 did not help to cement support for Sigismund’s reign. Many nobles, even ones who had supported Sigismund began to deter away from the King’s circle. By 1399, some nobles were clamoring to remove Sigismund from power. His failure in the crusade and the method of his acquisition of power had not helped his claim. That same year, Sigismund made a drastic mistake that finally pushed the nobles to action. The King, wanting to centralize the government (1), tried to increase taxes on some of the nobilities’ properties while simultaneously creating law jurisdictions that would send complaints to the state instead of the land’s lord. This completely angered the few remaining nobles who supported Sigismund and on May 14, 1400, the region of Sopron openly rebelled against the crown.


A noble named Ulazlo Bathory led the rebels in Sopron. Bathory was considered an elder noble in the Hungarian court. He was largely respected by the Hungarians but mostly ignored by Sigismund and the small pocket of Luxembourg house supporters. He craved for a time when the rest of the nobles would recognize their mistake in supporting Sigismund. Bathory thought the King a fool for crusading against the Ottomans especially with allowing the French to control the momentum of the army. The noble finally had his chance to supplant Sigismund from the throne. Though most of the nobles wanted to see the King dethroned, most of the court refused to openly support the rebellion. Bathory also had problems recruiting an army to march on Buda. The majority of Hungarians, though disappointed with Sigismund’s rule so far were not against his claim. He had failed in the crusade, but he had bolstered the failing economy.(2)

Without the commoners’ support and the nobles open support, Bathory was only able to muster a 4,000-man army to march on the capitol. The only advantage Bathory had was time. King Sigismund was unable to rapidly put together an army due to the slow mobilization by the nobility, the one thing the nobles were able to do to support Bathory. The rebel army began to march on Buda and but were intercepted by a large army on June 20. All hope that the noble had of surprising the Sigismund were dashed when he was met with an 11,000-man army commanded by King Sigismund, himself. Ulazlo Bathory was confused over how the King was able to recruit such a large force in a small amount of time. The answer was made clear when the two parties met on June 21 to speak terms of the engagement. Along with King Sigismund was the noble Barnaby Hunyadi, general of the Royal Army of Hungary. It was Hunyadi, who acting for the King raised the force that met the rebels. Bathory was shocked to see Hunyadi who many believed supported the rebellion. Bathory refused the outlandish terms set by the King; yet Bathory was unable to retreat without being hounded by the King’s forces. The noble had led his army into a slaughter.

The Battle of Sopron was over before it began. The sheer number of troops at the King’s disposal caused concern and panic in the rebel lines. General Hunyadi sealed the rebel’s fate with a cavalry charge of over 2,000 knights that completely decimated the rebel center. The rebel army was cut down and the soldiers scattered. During the route, Ulazlo Bathory and a small band of his knights were surrounded and killed by some of Hunyadi’s knights before the general could come and stop the deed.(3)


With the death of Bathory, all hope of removing King Sigismund from the Hungarian throne faded away. Sigismund understood the importance that Hunyadi played and rewarded the noble with extensive land and riches. The Hunyadi family had risen from a lower noble house to one of the most powerful and richest houses in all of Hungary.

Having the throne secured, King Sigismund continued with his domestic policies and elevated men who would help in his administration. There were two men, in particular that would help the Kingdom of Hungary grow in the 15th century.


High Judge, Kalman Dessewffy would establish a solid, judicial branch of the royal government that would foresee everything from small monetary claims between commoners to large territorial disputes between nobles. His system of courts throughout Hungary would be the basis of the entire judicial system until the 19th century. His council gave all Hungarians a sense of justice and pride. Many of the lower class believed that no longer the nobles could walk all over them, even if that was actually not the case.

The second great advisor of Sigismund’s court was Jeno Horthy. Horthy was part of the rising middle-class in Hungary. He was an educated man that won favor from Sigismund for his bold and intelligent speeches in the court. Horthy was elevated to chief diplomat of the Hungarian courts by Sigismund in 1401. His skill would help Hungary gain a position of power within other royal circles in Europe. Early on, he arranged for numerous treaties including alliances with the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Order of the Teutonic Knights and the Duchy of Brandenburg. He also helped with the royal marriage of Elizabeth of Celje, the daughter of the Count Henry of Celje to King Sigismund of Luxembourg on February 12, 1401. Without Horthy’s diplomatic precision, Hungary may never have risen out of the ranks of the lesser kingdoms.

After stabilizing his power in the Hungarian courts, Sigismund understood to solidify his claim on the throne; he had to show the nobles that he could be the willful King that the Magyars wanted. Sigismund correctly ascertained that many of the northern nobles wanted to expand their lands into Polish territory. It’s not too difficult to understand the relationship between Poland and Hungary. The Magyars had controlled Poland at one point in history, destroying villages, killing their population and taking their resources. There was no love lost between the two countries. The Hungarian nobles had continuous quarrels with Polish nobles. Border disputes occurred quite often over the tears, and Sigismund knew he could use this to his advantage. He only needed to know when the time would be right.


On December 26, 1401, King Sigismund received great news for him and his claim on the Magyar throne. His wife, Queen Elizabeth gave birth to a son who they named Matyas. With his succession safe, the house of Luxembourg looked secure in their line of kings for Hungary.


Due to the birth of his son, King Sigismund commissioned one of the most skilled artists in the court to create a tapestry. This tapestry beautifully detailed the birth of his son, the glory of Hungary and more importantly the glory of the Luxembourg royal house. With his pride not only intact but lifted, King Sigismund was ready to move on to his next state issue, Poland.


With the help of his chief diplomat Jeno Horthy, the King created an outlandish but somewhat believable claim on the Polish throne. King Sigismund claimed he was the true heir to the throne of Poland, which angered the Poles as they cried foul play. Though the claim was weak; he was the son of the granddaughter of the Polish King, Casimir III. It did not matter to the international community though. King Sigismund had the backing of the Holy Roman Emperor. (4)


However, the Holy Roman Emperor would not be the only sanction, King Sigismund would have needed to gain the approval to war with another Catholic power. Sigismund gained the Pope’s approval of his claim on the Polish throne in late 1401. Many theories have risen for the Pope to approve such an endeavor. One theory is that King Sigismund used private funds from his family to help bribe certain powerful Cardinals that helped convince the Pope to support the Hungarian King. Another theory is that the Pope was going to be excommunicating the Polish King due to heretical belief infiltrating the Polish King’s court from Muslim and Orthodox sources. Yet, the theory that is most accepted is that the Pope supported Sigismund because of family ties. The Pope was the cousin of a powerful noble in Hungary, Nicholas Garai. Because of this dynastic link, King Sigismund received the support he needed to wage war on Poland.


From 1402-1404, the Kingdom of Hungary prepared its armies for war against Poland. Everything seemed to be going as planned for King Sigismund. However, as fate always dictates, it commands our lives, even those of kings.


(1) - Pushed the slider to the left toward centralization which led to the local pretender revolt

(2) - Placed merchants in the Venice and Lubeck trade centres which helped gain some coin.

(3) - Some accounts have mentioned that Sigismund demanded the death of the noble, for he wanted all dissidence to disappear to help solidify his reign. With Bathory still alive, he would have given headaches to the King. Sigismund did not want to go through the legal procedures of a captured, treasonous noble; so he had Bathory killed by a group of knights without General Hunyadi knowing.

(4) - The Holy Roman Emperor in 1402 was the King of Bohemia, ally to the Kingdom of Hungary
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Hunyadi in the game as general, what stats?

Actually at this time, Hunyadi is not in the game as a general. I did notice that there is Janos Hunyadi who has some pretty good stats. This is more for story purposes which will be revealed in Part 2.

soulking said:
Excellent! A war with Poland is good for the prestige.

Definitely, I get 200% prestige if I can win the war with Poland. However, it's not going to be so easy. Their allies are many and large.:eek:
Looks like this'll become an excellent History Book AAR! Hungary's a nation that isn't covered often in EU3 so great choice I'd say.
Very well written, and chalk full of wonderful detail. Lovely, lovely, AAR :D
Yaay. Hungarian AAR. Nice. On of my fav nations :)

edit: Noooo, you must give in to Ulaszlo I demands :) Bathory dynasty would make both Ersebeth and Quothron proud :)
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Burn Krakow!

Ha...you shall see.

Throne said:
Ah, an AAR that shows real effort is always refreshing. Subscribed.

Thanks! I really want to put as much effort into this I can. If you're making an effort to read it, I should be doing the same to not disappoint. I hope you enjoy!

Qorten said:
Looks like this'll become an excellent History Book AAR! Hungary's a nation that isn't covered often in EU3 so great choice I'd say.

Thanks Qorten for the excellent complement! Hungary really is a great choice. I was so surprised to see that not many people choose Hungary. I suppose Austria, Poland and the Ottoman Empire always get the love in eastern europe.

Kapt Torbjorn said:
Very well written, and chalk full of wonderful detail. Lovely, lovely, AAR

Thank you, my fellow eastern european aar writer! I'm really loving your Transylvania AAR.

TelcontarElessa said:
Yaay. Hungarian AAR. Nice. On of my fav nations

edit: Noooo, you must give in to Ulaszlo I demands Bathory dynasty would make both Ersebeth and Quothron proud :)

Haha...sorry to not allow the rebels to win! I do know of the Bathory dynasty, though I'm not quite familiar with Ersebeth and Quothron? I'm curious! Though I must say having a non-Hungarian on the throne is just trouble! But then again...that is how it was for the Kingdom of Hungary...