Báthory

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Báthory

(bä`tôrē), Pol. Batory, Hungarian noble family. Stephen Báthory, 1477–1534, a loyal adherent of John IJohn I
(John Zapolya) , 1487–1540, king of Hungary (1526–40), voivode [governor] of Transylvania (1511–26). He was born John Zapolya, the son of Stephen Zápolya.
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 of Hungary (John Zápolya), was made (1529) voivode [governor] of TransylvaniaTransylvania
, Rom. Transilvania or Ardeal, Hung. Erdély, Ger. Siebenbürgen, historic region and province (21,292 sq mi/55,146 sq km), central Romania.
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. His youngest son became (1575) king of Poland (see Stephen BáthoryStephen Báthory
, Pol. Stefan Batory, 1533–86, king of Poland (1575–86), prince of Transylvania (1571–75), son of Stephen Báthory (1477–1534). He was elected to succeed John II as prince of Transylvania.
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, king of Poland) and was succeeded as prince of Transylvania by his brother, Christopher Báthory, 1530–81. Christopher married Elizabeth, sister of Stephen BocskayBocskay, Stephen
, 1557–1606, Hungarian noble, voivode [governor] (1604–6) and prince (1605–6) of Transylvania. Seeking to secure the independence of Transylvania, he supported his nephew, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania, first against the
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.

His son and successor, Sigismund Báthory, 1572–1613, was mentally unbalanced. At first a loyal vassal of the Hapsburg king of Hungary (Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf IIRudolf II,
1552–1612, Holy Roman emperor (1576–1612), king of Bohemia (1575–1611) and of Hungary (1572–1608), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II.
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), he crushed (1594) the pro-Turkish faction of nobles and was recognized by Rudolf as hereditary prince. In 1597, he abdicated in favor of Rudolf but returned to assume power in Aug., 1598. The following March he abdicated in favor of his cousin, Andrew Cardinal Báthory (d. 1599), but again reversed his decision and, with the help of Stephen Bocskay, returned to power as a vassal of Sultan Muhammad III. He abdicated definitively in 1602 (in favor of Rudolf) and retired to Silesia.

Elizabeth Báthory, d. 1614, a niece of Stephen Bathory, is celebrated in legend as a female werewolf. She is said to have slaughtered more than 600 virgins in order to renew her youth by bathing in their blood. She was incarcerated in 1610 and died in prison.

Gabriel Báthory, 1589–1613, a nephew of Andrew Cardinal Báthory, became prince of Transylvania in 1608. His harsh regime provoked a rebellion by the nobles, and he was murdered. By the marriage of his niece Sophia (d. 1680) to George II Rákóczy, the two families were united.

Bibliography

See biography of Elizabeth Báthory by V. Penrose (tr. 1970); B. Gould, Book of Werewolves (1865).