Skip to main content
Select Source:

Corvinus, Matthias (1440–1490)

Corvinus, Matthias (14401490)

King of Hungary, crusader against the Muslim Turks, and celebrated Hungarian patron of the arts and humanities. The son of Janos Hunyadi, himself a widely renowned military leader, Matthias Corvinus was born in Cluj, Transylvania. The nickname Corvinus, comes from the Latin corvusa, or crow, a bird depicted on the Hunyadi coat of arms. Matthias was given a thorough education by an Italian scholar who fired him with enthusiasm for the classics of Latin literature.

He was betrothed to the daughter of Count Ulrich Czilley, a rival of Janos Hunyadi, but this girl died before the marriage. On the death of Hunyadi, a bitter struggle over the crown of Hungary broke out, with Czilley denouncing Matthias and his brother Laszlo as plotting the downfall of King Ladislas V. In 1457 Laszlo and Matthias were captured; Laszlo was executed. A few months later Ladislas V died, while Matthias became a prisoner of the king of Bohemia, George Podebrady. In 1458 a faction of Hungarian nobles elected Matthias as the next king, believing as a young and educated man he would be easy to control.

Opponents of Matthias proclaimed as king the Habsburg emperor Frederick III, who accepted his election and seized the crown jewels of Hungary as symbol of his authority. Matthias proved an able leader, however, and crushed opposition, taking as prisoners many of his rivals as well as Vlad Dracula, the prince of Wallachia. In 1463, Frederick gave up his claim, accepted Matthias as the king of Hungary, and returned the crown. Matthias raised a powerful army of mercenaries to expand the borders of Hungary to Moravia and Silesia in the north and Austria in the west. He campaigned against the Turks in the Balkan Peninsula, defeating them in several battles in Serbia and Transylvania.

At home he established a new judicial system, improved education, and patronized several Italian artists, whom he invited to work at his court. He also built a prestigious library of books and manuscripts, the second largest in Europe after the papal library in Rome.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Corvinus, Matthias (1440–1490)." The Renaissance. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Corvinus, Matthias (1440–1490)." The Renaissance. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/arts-construction-medicine-science-and-technology-magazines/corvinus-matthias-1440-1490

"Corvinus, Matthias (1440–1490)." The Renaissance. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/arts-construction-medicine-science-and-technology-magazines/corvinus-matthias-1440-1490

Uladislaus II

Uladislaus II (ōō´lä´dĬslous), Hung. Ulászló II, c.1456–1516, king of Hungary (1490–1516) and, as Ladislaus II, king of Bohemia (1471–1516); son of Casimir IV of Poland. Designated by George of Podebrad as his successor, he was elected to the Bohemian throne. Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, invaded his territories and in 1478 acquired Moravia, Silesia, and Lusatia from him. In Bohemia, Uladislaus openly favored the Roman Church against the Hussites. His weak rule enabled the nobles to pass laws in the diets of 1487 and 1497 that made the peasants virtual serfs. On the death of Matthias Corvinus (1490), the Hungarian magnates elected Uladislaus king in preference to Maximilian of Hapsburg (later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I). In Hungary the nobles also exploited the king's weakness, abolishing the reforms of Matthias Corvinus and worsening the lot of the peasants. When Cardinal Bakocz issued the call for a crusade against the Ottomans, the peasants revolted and were cruelly repressed by John Zapolya (later John I). In 1515, Uladislaus concluded with Maximilian I a treaty that eventually brought Hungary and Bohemia under Hapsburg rule—his daughter Anna was promised to Archduke Ferdinand (later Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I); his son and successor, Louis II, was to marry Ferdinand's sister, Mary; if Louis died childless (as he did), Hungary and Bohemia were to pass to the Hapsburgs.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Uladislaus II." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Uladislaus II." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/uladislaus-ii

"Uladislaus II." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/uladislaus-ii