Bela III, owing to his western relationships, earned a significant international prestige for the Arpad dynasty. His son, Andrew had the opportunity to take advantage of the Cause of Christ in increasing his kingdom’s role in Latinity.
Andrew II can be considered to be the only monarch who assumed the sign of Christ, proved his stamina for the Holy Land, and also, as a result of his diplomacy the Latin Empire would survive as a factor in the region. Andrew II was striving to assume the role of Byzantium as a decisive member of the power system. It was not by chance that the lord of Tyrus, Conrad of Montferrat turned to the Arpads, begging: ”Jerusalem is calling for you!” In the eye of the West he was not just the descendant of the Arpads defending Christianity against the Cumans and Petchenegs, but also a potential leader in close relationship with prominent European dynasties. For the Latins he was not just a small western lord, but an offspring of a domus that had produced great rulers, who was related to Byzantine emperors, during whose reign the conversion of pagans and heretics began, and whose daughter had a reputation for leading a sainted life while he was still alive.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux could see his siblings settling in Hungary. The grey friars were guaranteed the same privileges by Bela III they had enjoyed in France. Andrew II’s chancery and the ranks of the higher clergy were filled with experts who had graduated in Paris, and who were mostly of French origin, who brought the modern culture and intellect of the age to Hungary. Anonymus studied in the Abbey of Sainte Genevieve, where he had made friends adept in literature. From the end of the 1220s we can find Hungarian students at the studium generale in Orleans.
The influence was reciprocal: some Hungarian kings and queens got into the French literature, for instance Andrew II was woven into the Guillaume d’Orange mythology. The Hungarian monarch is also a character in Andreas Capellanus’s Ars amoris. The famous troubadour of the age, Gaucelm Faidit found his home here: „Et ai estat en Ongri’ et en Franssa” / And I haue beene inne Hungrey and Fraunce”.
The plan of the historical panel, „Hungarian-French Historical Relations” by Vilmos Aba-Novak can be viewed at the exhibition. The 28 metre long piece of art consists of 7 metre tall panels and it illustrates cultural relationships and the influence of the French Cistercians well. The panel won Grand Prix at the 1937 Paris Great Exhibition. The great work of art is in the Istvan Csok Gallery.680