Ernye Ákos

Ernye Ákos

Béla IV and his soldiers flee from Mohi (1241), depicted in the Illuminated Chronicle
Judge royal
Reign 1267–1270
Predecessor Lawrence, son of Kemény (1st term)
Nicholas Gutkeled (2nd term)
Successor Nicholas Monoszló (1st term)
Denis Péc (2nd term)


Noble family gens Ákos
Father Erdő
Born ?
Died after January 1275

Ernye from the kindred Ákos (Erne; Hungarian: Ákos nembeli Ernye; died after January 1275) was a Hungarian baron and landowner. He is best known for saving the life of king Béla IV after the disastrous Battle of Mohi in 1241.



He was born into the Ernye branch of the gens (clan) Ákos as the son of Erdő;[1] he had two brothers, Albert the Great, who served as master of the horse (1270–1272), ban of Severin (1272),[2] and Erdő II, ispán (count) of Tolna (1272) and Trencsén Counties (1274).[3] Ernye's only son from his unidentified wife was Stephen, palatine of Hungary (1301–1307) who became one of the most powerful oligarchs during the interregnum after the death of king Andrew III.[4]


Mongol invasion of 1241

Ernye was first mentioned by contemporary records and charters in 1241.[1] During the Mongol invasion of Europe, he participated in the Battle of Mohi on 11 April 1241 where the Hungarian army suffered a decisive defeat and many noblemen and prelates were killed. According to the Illuminated Chronicle, during the flight from the battlefield, Ernye saved the life of king Béla IV by handing over his full-strength horse. Ernye then proceeded to fight against the pursuing Mongols to hold them back while Béla IV fled to Pressburg (Pozsony; today Bratislava, Slovakia).[1] Although he was seriously injured while defending the king's retreat, he managed to recover and followed his king into exile at Klis Fortress, where he spied for his lord at the enemy's camp.

Ruins of the Dédes Castle within Bükk National Park

After the withdrawal of the Mongols in 1242, Ernye became one of the steadiest and most reliable advocates of Béla IV during the subsequent rebuilding and structural reorganization of the Kingdom of Hungary. He received large amounts of land in Heves and Borsod counties and Erdőkövesd was secured by the Ákos clan during that time. Ernye obtained permission to build and strengthen the Dédes Castle, which became the center of his estates.[1] Despite this, there is no record of him receiving any official positions immediately following the Mongol attack.

Later career

Coat of arms of the gens Ákos

He fought in the royal army in a war against Austria in 1246 and participated in the Battle of the Leitha River, where Frederick the Quarrelsome was killed.[5] He also took part in a campaign against Austria in 1250.[1] Ernye was appointed master of the horse in 1250 and held that office until 1251.[6] He also served as ispán of Szolgagyőr (Galgóc) ispánate within Nyitra County in 1250-51, ispán of Varaždin County in 1251, Borsod County in 1254, and Bács County in 1256.[7][8][9][10]

An authentic charter issued in 1261 refers to him as "former ban of Transylvania" (Latin: banus quondam Transiluanus), thus he held the office of voivode of Transylvania sometimes before that year. The last known office-holder was Lawrence, who functioned as voivode for 10 years between 1242 and 1252, but there is no evidence that Ernye had already filled the position since 1252.[11][12] A Mongol army attacking the southern regions of Transylvania was defeated by voivode Ernye in 1260.[13] Later in that year, as a supporter of Béla IV, he was dismissed by the king's son, Stephen who had just taken over Transylvania with the title of duke.[5] However, this action by the duke was a result of emerging tensions between Béla and Stephen, not because of any animosity between the duke and Ernye.[5][14]

Béla IV appointed Ernye as ispán of Nyitra Country in 1263[15] where Ernye led a royal campaign against duke Stephen in 1264. However, he suffered a serious defeat and was himself captured by the enemy, Peter Csák's army. The king did not appoint a new ispán while Ernye was being held as a prisoner and after the Battle of Isaszeg in March 1265, the king was forced to accept the authority of Stephen in the eastern parts of the kingdom. On 23 March 1266, father and son confirmed the peace in the Convent of the Blessed Virgin on 'Rabbits' Island and Ernye, among others, was released from captivity.[1]

Following the release, he served as judge royal from 1267 to 1269 and possibly into 1270 based on information relating to his deputy.[16] Besides that he also functioned as ispán of Vas County.[17] After the death of king Béla IV and Stephen V's accession to the throne in 1270, Ernye did not lose his political influence despite the earlier conflicts with the new king. This lack of reduction in political power is demonstrated by the fact that he was able to participate in a campaign against Ottokar II of Bohemia that same year.[1] Stephen V nominated him as ispán of Varaždin County in 1271 and again in 1272 and he also served as master of the treasury and ispán of Somogy County in 1272.[18][19][20] The sudden death of Stephen V and subsequent coronation of the 10-year-old Ladislaus IV in August 1272 allowed him to become one of the most powerful barons in the country. His influence increased further in November of that year when duke Béla of Macsó was assassinated and the barons partitioned the territory of the Duchy of Macsó among themselves. Ernye Ákos received the title of ban of and Ozora in 1273, replacing Henry I Kőszegi from the Héder clan.[21] At the end of his life, Ernye Ákos served as judge royal for the second term and ispán of Szatmár County from September to 31 December 1274. According to some sources, he held that office in 1275 and 1278 as well, but this is unlikely as most sources indicate that he died sometime soon after January 1275.[22]


Area (white) ruled by Stephen Ákos and his genus during the interregnum (1301–1310)

His only son, Stephen Ákos continued his father's policy of land acquisition and established a dominion in the last decades of the 13th century, based on his father's estates. Stephen ruled de facto independently Borsod County, wedged in between the territory of Matthew Csák (north-western counties) and the dominion of Amade Aba (northern and north-eastern counties of the kingdom). The gens Ákos usurped royal prerogatives in his dominion, e.g. he granted lands and nobility to his followers. Stephen governed his possessions from the stone Diósgyőr Castle, which was presumably built by Ernye Ákos after the Mongol invasion.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Markó 2006, p. 268.
  2. Zsoldos 2011, p. 282.
  3. Zsoldos 2011, p. 300.
  4. 1 2 Markó 2006, p. 215.
  5. 1 2 3 Sălăgean 2005, p. 176.
  6. Zsoldos 2011, p. 57.
  7. Zsoldos 2011, p. 208.
  8. Zsoldos 2011, p. 221.
  9. Zsoldos 2011, p. 144.
  10. Zsoldos 2011, p. 127.
  11. Engel 2001, p. 382.
  12. Zsoldos 2011, p. 38.
  13. Sălăgean 2005, p. 177.
  14. Engel 2001, p. 106.
  15. Zsoldos 2011, p. 175.
  16. Zsoldos 2011, p. 31.
  17. Zsoldos 2011, p. 224.
  18. Zsoldos 2011, p. 222.
  19. Zsoldos 2011, p. 63.
  20. Zsoldos 2011, p. 193.
  21. Zsoldos 2011, p. 53.
  22. Zsoldos 2011, p. 276.


Genus Ákos
Born: ? Died: after January 1275
Political offices
Preceded by
Csák Hahót
Master of the horse
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Voivode of Transylvania
b. 1261
Succeeded by
Csák Hahót
Preceded by
Lawrence, son of Kemény
Judge royal
Succeeded by
Nicholas Monoszló
Preceded by
Egyed Monoszló
Master of the treasury
Succeeded by
Joachim Gutkeled
Preceded by
Henry Kőszegi
Ban of Ozora and
Preceded by
Nicholas Gutkeled
Judge royal
Succeeded by
Denis Péc
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