in league with Poděbrad’s son Victorinus, the emperor recognized Matthias as the actual sovereign of Hungary. Only now was Matthias able to turn against the Turks, who were again threatening the southern provinces. He began by defeating Ali Pasha, and then penetrated into Bosnia, and captured the newly built fortress of Jajce after a long and obstinate defence (Dec. 1463). On returning home he was crowned with the holy crown on the 29th of March 1464, and, after driving the Czechs out of his northern counties, turned southwards again, this time recovering all the parts of Bosnia which still remained in Turkish hands.
A political event of the first importance now riveted his attention upon the north. Poděbrad, who had gained the throne of Bohemia with the aid of the Hussites and Utraquists, had long been in ill odour at Rome, and in 1465 Pope Paul II. determined to depose the semi-Catholic monarch. All the neighbouring princes, the emperor, Casimir IV. of Poland and Matthias, were commanded in turn to execute the papal decree of deposition, and Matthias gladly placed his army at the disposal of the Holy See. The war began on the 31st of May 1468, but, as early as the 27th of February 1469, Matthias anticipated an alliance between George and Frederick by himself concluding an armistice with the former. On the 3rd of May the Czech Catholics elected Matthias king of Bohemia, but this was contrary to the wishes of both pope and emperor, who preferred to partition Bohemia. But now George discomfited all his enemies by suddenly excluding his own son from the throne in favour of Ladislaus, the eldest son of Casimir IV., thus skilfully enlisting Poland on his side. The sudden death of Poděbrad on the 22nd of March 1471 led to fresh complications. At the very moment when Matthias was about to profit by the disappearance of his most capable rival, another dangerous rebellion, headed by the primate and the chief dignitaries of the state, with the object of placing Casimir, son of Casimir IV., on the throne, paralysed Matthias’s foreign policy during the critical years 1470–1471. He suppressed this domestic rebellion indeed, but in the meantime the Poles had invaded the Bohemian domains with 60,000 men, and when in 1474 Matthias was at last able to take the field against them in order to raise the siege of Breslau, he was obliged to fortify himself in an entrenched camp, whence he so skilfully harried the enemy that the Poles, impatient to return to their own country, made peace at Breslau (Feb. 1475) on an uti possidetis basis, a peace subsequently confirmed by the congress of Olmütz (July 1479). During the interval between these peaces, Matthias, in self-defence, again made war on the emperor, reducing Frederick to such extremities that he was glad to accept peace on any terms. By the final arrangement made between the contending princes, Matthias recognized Ladislaus as king of Bohemia proper in return for the surrender of Moravia, Silesia and Upper and Lower Lusatia, hitherto component parts of the Czech monarchy, till he should have redeemed them for 400,000 florins. The emperor promised to pay Matthias 100,000 florins as a war indemnity, and recognized him as the legitimate king of Hungary on the understanding that he should succeed him if he died without male issue, a contingency at this time somewhat improbable, as Matthias, only three years previously (Dec. 15, 1476), had married his third wife, Beatrice of Naples, daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon.
The endless tergiversations and depredations of the emperor speedily induced Matthias to declare war against him for the third time (1481), the Magyar king conquering all the fortresses in Frederick’s hereditary domains. Finally, on the 1st of June 1485, at the head of 8000 veterans, he made his triumphal entry into Vienna, which he henceforth made his capital. Styria, Carinthia and Carniola were next subdued, and Trieste was only saved by the intervention of the Venetians. Matthias consolidated his position by alliances with the dukes of Saxony and Bavaria, with the Swiss Confederation, and the archbishop of Salzburg, and was henceforth the greatest potentate in central Europe. His far-reaching hand even extended to Italy. Thus, in 1480, when a Turkish fleet seized Otranto, Matthias, at the earnest solicitation of the pope, sent Balasz Magyar to recover the fortress, which surrendered to him on the 10th of May 1481. Again in 1488, Matthias took Ancona under his protection for a time and occupied it with a Hungarian garrison.
Though Matthias’s policy was so predominantly occidental that he soon abandoned his youthful idea of driving the Turks out of Europe, he at least succeeded in making them respect Hungarian territory. Thus in 1479 a huge Turkish army, on its return home from ravaging Transylvania, was annihilated at Szászváros (Oct. 13), and in 1480 Matthias recaptured Jajce, drove the Turks from Servia and erected two new military banates, Jajce and Srebernik, out of reconquered Bosnian territory. On the death of Mahommed II. in 1481, a unique opportunity for the intervention of Europe in Turkish affairs presented itself. A civil war ensued in Turkey between his sons Bayezid and Jem, and the latter, being worsted, fled to the knights of Rhodes, by whom he was kept in custody in France (see Bayezid II.). Matthias, as the next-door neighbour of the Turks, claimed the custody of so valuable a hostage, and would have used him as a means of extorting concessions from Bayezid. But neither the pope nor the Venetians would hear of such a transfer, and the negotiations on this subject greatly embittered Matthias against the Curia. The last days of Matthias were occupied in endeavouring to secure the succession to the throne for his illegitimate son János (see Corvinus, János); but Queen Beatrice, though childless, fiercely and openly opposed the idea and the matter was still pending when Matthias, who had long been crippled by gout, expired very suddenly on Palm Sunday, the 4th of April 1490.
Matthias Hunyadi was indisputably the greatest man of his day, and one of the greatest monarchs who ever reigned. The precocity and universality of his genius impress one the most. Like Napoleon, with whom he has often been compared, he was equally illustrious as a soldier, a statesman, an orator, a legislator and an administrator. But in all moral qualities the brilliant adventurer of the 15th was infinitely superior to the brilliant adventurer of the 19th century. Though naturally passionate, Matthias’s self-control was almost superhuman, and throughout his stormy life, with his innumerable experiences of ingratitude and treachery, he never was guilty of a single cruel or vindictive action. His capacity for work was inexhaustible. Frequently half his nights were spent in reading, after the labour of his most strenuous days. There was no branch of knowledge in which he did not take an absorbing interest, no polite art which he did not cultivate and encourage. His camp was a school of chivalry, his court a nursery of poets and artists. Matthias was a middle-sized, broad-shouldered man of martial bearing, with a large fleshy nose, hair reaching to his heels, and the clean-shaven, heavy chinned face of an early Roman emperor.
See Vilmós Fraknói, King Matthias Hunyadi (Hung., Budapest, 1890, German ed., Freiburg, 1891); Ignácz Acsády History of the Hungarian Realm (Hung. vol. i., Budapest, 1904); József Teleki, The Age of the Hunyadis in Hungary (Hung., vols. 3-5, Budapest, 1852–1890); V. Fraknói Life of János Vitez (Hung. Budapest 1879); Karl Schober, Die Eroberung Niederösterreichs durch Matthias Corvinus (Vienna, 1879); János Huszár, Matthias’s Black Army (Hung. Budapest, 1890); Antonio Bonfini, Rerum hungaricarum decades (7th ed., Leipzig, 1771); Aeneas Sylvius, Opera (Frankfort, 1707); The Correspondence of King Matthias (Hung, and Lat., Budapest, 1893); V. Fraknói, The Embassies of Cardinal Carvajal to Hungary (Hung., Budapest, 1889); Marzio Galeotti, De egregie sapienter et jocose dictis ac factis Matthiae regis (Script. reg. hung. I.) (Vienna, 1746). Of the above the first is the best general sketch and is rich in notes; the second somewhat chauvinistic but excellently written; the third the best work for scholars; the seventh, eighth and eleventh are valuable as being by contemporaries. (R. N. B.)
MATTHISSON, FRIEDRICH VON (1761–1831), German poet, was born at Hohendodeleben near Magdeburg, the son of the village pastor, on the 23rd of January 1761. After studying theology and philology at the university of Halle, he was appointed in 1781 master at the classical school Philanthropin in Dessau. This once famous seminary was, however, then rapidly decaying in public favour, and in 1784 Matthisson was glad to accept a travelling tutorship. He lived for two years with the Swiss author Bonstetten at Nyon on the lake of Geneva.