In 1046, and again in 1061, two dangerous pagan risings shook the very foundations of the infant church and state; the western provinces were in constant danger from the attacks of the acquisitive emperors, and from the south and southeast two separate hordes of fierce barbarians (the Petchenegs in 1067-1068, and the Kumanians in 1071-1072) burst over the land.
Stephen contrived to hold his own by adroitly contracting an alliance with the powerful Neapolitan Angevins who had the ear of the pope; but Ladislaus (q.v.) was so completely caught in the toils of the Kumanians, that the Holy See, the suzerain of Hungary, was forced to intervene to prevent the relapse of the kingdom into barbarism, and the unfortunate Ladislaus perished in the crusade that was preached against him.
In Hungary itself a large party was in favour of the Germans, but the civil wars which raged between the two factions from 1276 to 1278 did not prevent Ladislaus, at the head of 20,000 Magyars and Kumanians, from co-operating with Rudolph of Habsburg in the great battle of Durnkri t (August 26th, 1278), which destroyed, once for all, the empire of the Pfemyslidae.
He clearly preferred the society of the semi-heathen Kumanians to that of the Christians; wore, and made his court wear, Kumanian dress; surrounded himself with Kumanian concubines, and neglected and ill-used his ill-favoured Neapolitan consort.
On the 25th of December 1289 he issued a manifesto to the lesser gentry, a large portion of whom sided with him, urging them to continue the struggle against the magnates and their foreign supporters; but on the 10th of July 1290 he was murdered in his camp at Korosszeg by the Kumanians, who never forgave him for deserting them.