Boris Colomanno


August 19, 2022

Boris Colomanno in Hungarian Borisz Kalamanosz; in Greek Βορίσης Καλαμάνος, transl. Borìses Calamànos; in Russian and Ukrainian: Борис Коломанович ?, transliterated: Boris Kolomanovič (Kievan Rus', c. 1114 - c. 1154) was a pretender to the throne of the kingdom of Hungary active in the mid-twelfth century. Son of Euphemia of Kiev, the second wife of Colomanno the Bibliophile, the king of Hungary, when her mother was caught in the act of adultery, her husband expelled her from her kingdom and never recognized Boris of her as a descendant her. The child was born in Kievan Rus' and instead always considered himself the legitimate heir of the king. He claimed the crown of Hungary after Colomanno's eldest son and successor, Stephen II, died in 1131. Boris made several attempts to enforce his claims against kings Béla II and Géza II with the assistance of Poland, of the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, but failed and was killed in a battle. He had one or two children by a Byzantine woman who never made any claim to the Hungarian throne.


Early Years

Boris was the son of Euphemia of Kiev, daughter of Vladimir II Monomachus, the future Grand Prince of Kiev. She was granted in marriage to King Coloman of Hungary in 1112, as Chronica Picta narrates she "was caught while she committed the sin of adultery". Upon discovering his clandestine affair, Colomanno immediately removed his wife from Hungary. Euphemia made her way home and returned to Kievan Rus', where she gave birth to Boris around 1114. The baby was named after Saint Boris, one of the first canonized princes of the Ryurikid dynasty. King Colomanno never recognized his son as a legitimate descendant and the latter grew up at the court of his grandfather, Vladimir Monomachus, in Kiev.According to Chronica Picta, a group of Magyar nobles who wished to take a more influential weight on the policy of the court decided to elect two "counts [,] Bors and Ivan" as sovereign, when the son and successor of Colomanno the Bibliophile, Stephen II, fell ill around 1128. However, Stephen II, once recovered from the disease that afflicted him, ordered the execution of Ivan and expelled Bors, who went to the Byzantine Empire. According to an academic theory, Count Bors would correspond to Boris Colomanno, but this hypothesis does not enjoy wide credit. Stephen II died on 1 March 1131 and his cousin, Béla the Blind, succeeded him. During "an assembly of the kingdom held near Arad" in the early mid-1131, Queen Helen of Rascia, wife of Béla, ordered the massacre of all the nobles accused of having suggested the blindness of her husband to King Colomanno, as well as those who proved opposed to his rise.

Attempts to acquire the Hungarian crown

First attempt

After the death of Stephen II, Boris "claimed the kingdom of his father" and, according to the contemporary Otto of Freising, immediately sought an ally who could help him in his intent, which he identified in the Byzantine Empire. The historian romeo Giovanni Cinnamo reported that the emperor John II Comnenus "reserved him [to Boris] every honor and granted him in marriage a noblewoman of his own family". However, according to Otto of Freising, Boris left Constantinople for Poland because the emperor was not willing to provide him with military assistance; for his part, Boleslaus III of Poland was persuaded to assist Boris because he wanted to create a powerful coalition against the Holy Roman Empire. . Some Hungarians and various troops from Kievan Rus' also joined Boris, believing in his cause; the joint army, which also boasted some Polish elements, invaded Hungary in the summer of 1132. However, Béla the Blind had not remained inert in the meantime and had allied himself with Leopold III of Austria. Before launching a counterattack against her rival, Béla summoned a