Principality of Hungary

Reign of Géza
Depicted in the Illuminated Chronicle
972 Jan 1

Reign of Géza

Székesfehérvár, Hungary

Géza succeeded his father around 972. He adopted a centralizing policy, which gave rise to his fame as a merciless ruler. The longer version of his son's Life even states that Géza's hands were "defiled with blood". Pál Engel wrote that Géza carried out a "large-scale purge" against his relatives, which explains the lack of references to other members of the Árpád dynasty from around 972. 

Géza decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire. The nearly contemporaneous Thietmar of Merseburg confirms that the conversion to Christianity of the pagan Hungarians started under Géza, who became the first Christian ruler of Hungary. However, Géza continued to observe pagan cults, which proves that his conversion to Christianity was never complete.