Real Life Game of Thrones

Batuhan Kala
4 min readJun 24, 2022

After the Mongol invasion of Cumania, right after the Battle of Kalka River which Cumans left Rus’ States in battlefield against Mongol Army and run, most of the Cumans escaped to Hungarian Kingdom. Mongols came back under the rule of Ogedei after 17 years since they had to return Karakorum to chose a new khagan after Genghis’s death. In 1241, Mongols proposed a deal to Bela IV of Hungary: If you give us Cumans, we won’t touch your kingdom. Bela refused the request so Mongols invaded Hungary. Cumans created a Carpathian defence force against Mongols but they failed. In 1241, Battle of Tisza River (two days later the Battle of Legnica against Polish armies) resulted with Mongol victory. Hungarian nobility assasinated Kothen Khan of Cumans blaming Cumans being Mongol spies (ironically Cumans were the ones willing to fight against Mongols). But Mongols returned Karakorum since Ogedei Khan died and they had to chose a Khagan in Kurultai so Kothen unnecessarily assassinated.

Bela gave lands to Cumans to live and named the lands as Kunsag. But some of the Cumans moved to Bulgaria later in Second Bulgarian Empire and Terter clan of Cumans took the control of Bulgaria in 1281. Then they succeeded by Shishman dynasty which were also Cuman. And In Hungary, Stephen V, son of Bela IV married with a Cuman noble and Ladislaus IV son of Stephan V was half Cuman. Meanwhile, Pope send a bishop to help restore “religion” in Hungary. He extracted a ceremonious promise from the Cuman chieftains of giving up their pagan customs, and persuaded the young King Ladislaus to swear an oath to enforce the keeping of the Cuman chieftains’ promise. A law passed that the Cumans should leave their tents and live “in houses attached to the ground” since they were living in “yurts” but Cumans refused. Bishop excommunicated Ladislaus and placed Hungary under interdict. Ladislaus joined the Cumans and appealed to the “Holy See”, but the Pope refused to absolve him. Then Cumans captured the bishop by the order of Ladislaus.

However (somehow) voivode of Transylvania captured Ladislaus but released the bishop and the king 2 months later, Ladislaud took a new oath to enforce the Cuman laws. A Cuman army invaded the south Hungary but Ladislaus vanquished them with his army. Later, The king preferred the Cumans’ way of life (after destroying an army of Cumans?), including their costumes and hairstyle, abandoned his wife, Isabella, and took Cuman girls as his mistresses. In September 1286, Ladislaus imprisoned his wife and granted all her revenues to his Cuman mistress. Archbishop Lodomer liberated Queen Isabella the following September.

The archbishop summoned the prelates, the barons, and the noblemen to an assembly in Buda and excommunicated Ladislaus. In response, the infuriated king stated that “beginning with the archbishop of Esztergom and his suffragans, I shall exterminate the whole lot right up to Rome with the aid of Tartar(Mongol or Cuman, uncertain) swords”. The barons captured Ladislaus. Ladislaus spent the last years of his life wandering from place to place. Pope Nicholas IV was even planning to proclaim a crusade against Ladislaus. However, Ladislaus, who had always been partial towards his Cuman subjects, was assassinated by three Cumans, named Árbóc, Törtel, and Kemence. His most loyal friend and servant Mizse and the Cuman Nicholas, who was the brother of Ladislaus’s Cuman mistress, took vengeance for Ladislaus’s death, slaughtering the murderers. Later Ladislaus was succeeded by Andrew III, son of Ladislaus II. After him, the Arpad dynasty ended. What is left from Cumans slowly assimilated and a small minority exterminated right before Great Turkish War in 1683.

Now I’m gonna explain why it’s my favorite. Who’s the villain here? Mongols? Pope? Hungarian nobility? Cumans? In the beginning of the story, Mongols were like Thanos and Cumans and Hungarians were like Avengers. Fighting against an incredibly strong mad man. But Cumans took the control of Bulgaria, caused a civil war in Hungary, they were about to cause a new crusade. Are they the villain here? Or was the Hungarian nobility villain since they assassinated Kothen and forced the Cumans to live in “normal” houses? Everything I explained was a “40 year in a nutshell” and I sometimes laugh for this madness. How this much thing happened in a 40 year?