John Corvinus

John Corvinus

Portrait by Imre Madách.
Born (1473-04-02)2 April 1473
Buda, Kingdom of Hungary
Died 12 October 1504(1504-10-12) (aged 31)
Krapina, Croatia
Burial Lepoglava
Spouse Beatrice de Frangepan
Issue Elisabeth
House Hunyadi
Father Matthias Corvinus
Mother Barbara Edelpöck
Religion Roman Catholicism

John Corvinus (Hungarian: Corvin János, Croatian: Ivaniš Korvin; 2 April 1473 – 12 October 1504) King of Bosnia (1495–1499). He was the illegitimate son of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, and his mistress, Barbara Edelpöck.


Early life

Born in Buda, he took his name from the raven (Latin: corvus) in his father's escutcheon. Matthias originally intended him for the Church, but on losing all hope of offspring from his queen, Beatrice of Naples, determined, towards the end of his life, to make the youth his successor on the throne. He loaded him with honours and riches until he was by far the wealthiest magnate in the land. He publicly declared him his successor, created him a prince with vast apanages in Silesia (Duchy of Głogów) made the commandants of all the fortresses in the kingdom take an oath of allegiance to him, and tried to arrange a marriage for him with Bianca Maria Sforza of Milan, a project which was frustrated by the intrigues of Queen Beatrice.

A young John Corvinus in 1486, by Baldassare Estense.

Matthias also intended to make the recognition of John as Prince Royal of Hungary by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, in counterpart of relinquishing all or part of the conquered hereditary domains of the House of Habsburg; but his sudden death left the matter still pending, and the young prince suddenly found himself alone in the midst of enemies.

After Matthias's death

The inexperienced and irresolute youth speedily became the victim of the most shameful chicanery. He was first induced formally to resign his claims to the throne, on the understanding that he was to be compensated with the crown of Bosnia. He was then persuaded to retire southwards with the royal treasures which Matthias had confided to him, whereupon an army immediately started in pursuit, scattered his forces, and robbed him of everything.

Meanwhile, the diet had elected Vladislaus Jagiellon of Bohemia King (15 July 1490), to whom John hastened to do homage, in order to save something from the wreck of his fortunes. He was also recognized as duke of Slavonia and Opava, but compelled to relinquish both titles five years later. On the invasion of Hungary by Maximilian, he showed his loyalty to the crown by relinquishing into the hands of Vladislaus the three important fortresses in Pressburg (present day Bratislava in Slovakia), Komárom and Tata, which had been entrusted to him by his father. But now, encouraged by his complacency, the chief dignitaries, headed by the Palatine Stephen Zápolya (? – 1499), laid claim to nearly all his remaining estates and involved him in a whole series of costly processes. This they could do with perfect impunity, as they had poisoned the mind of the indolent and suspicious king against their victim.

Marriage and issue

In 1496 Corvinus married Beatrice, the daughter of Bernard Frangepán. His prospects now improved, and in 1498 he was created perpetual Ban of Croatia and Slavonia. From 1499 to 1502 he successfully defended the unconquered parts of Bosnia against the Turks, and in the following year aspired to the dignity of Palatine, but was defeated by a combination of Queen Beatrice and his other enemies. He died at Krapina on 12 October 1504, leaving one son, Christopher Corvinus, who died on 17 March 1505 and a daughter, Elisabeth, who died in 1508.



  1. Kubinyi 2008, pp. 203–204.
  2. Mureşanu 2001, pp. 43–44.


Other sources

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