|King of Poland|
|Coronation||26 June 1295 at Gniezno Cathedral|
|Predecessor||Bolesław II the Generous|
|Successor||Wenceslaus II of Bohemia|
|High Duke of Poland|
|Predecessor||Henryk IV Probus|
|Successor||Wenceslaus II of Bohemia|
|Duke of Greater Poland|
|Successor||Władysław I the Elbow-high|
|Born||14 October 1257|
Poznań, Kingdom of Poland
|Died||8 February 1296 38) (aged|
Rogoźno, Kingdom of Poland
|Spouse|| Ludgarda of Mecklenburg |
Richeza of Sweden
Margaret of Brandenburg
|Issue||Elizabeth Richeza, queen of Bohemia|
|Father||Przemysł I of Greater Poland|
|Mother||Elisabeth of Wrocław|
Przemysł II (Polish: [ˈpʂɛmɨsw] ( listen ) also given in English and Latin as Premyslas or Premislaus or less properly Przemysław; 14 October 1257 – 8 February 1296), was the Duke of Poznań from 1257 –1279, of Greater Poland from 1279–1296, of Kraków from 1290–1291, and Gdańsk Pomerania (Pomerelia) from 1294–1296, and then King of Poland from 1295 until his death. After a long period of Polish high dukes and two nominal kings, he was the first to obtain the hereditary title of king, and thus to return Poland to the rank of kingdom. A member of the Greater Poland branch of the House of Piast as the only son of Duke Przemysł I and the Silesian princess Elisabeth, he was born posthumously; for this reason he was brought up at the court of his uncle Bolesław the Pious and received his own district to rule, the Duchy of Poznań in 1273. Six years later, after the death of his uncle, he also obtained the Duchy of Kalisz.
In the first period of his government, Przemysł II was involved only in regional affairs, first in close collaboration and then competing with the Duke of Wrocław, Henryk IV Probus.This policy caused the rebellion of the prominent Zaremba family and the temporary loss of Wieluń. Working with the Archbishop of Gniezno, Jakub Świnka, he sought the unification of the principalities of the Piast dynasty. Unexpectedly, in 1290, under the will of Henryk IV Probus, he managed to obtain the Duchy of Kraków and with this the title of High Duke of Poland; however, not having sufficient support from the local nobility (who supported another member of the Piast dynasty, Władysław I the Elbow-high) and faced with the increasing threats of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, Przemysł II finally decided to retreat from Lesser Poland, which was then under the rule of Přemyslid dynasty.
In 1293, thanks to the mediation of Archbishop Jakub Świnka, he joined into a close alliance with the Kuyavian princes Władysław the Elbow-high and Casimir II of Łęczyca.This alliance was anti-Bohemian, and his goal was to recover Kraków, then in the hands of King Wenceslaus II.
After the death of Duke Mestwin II in 1294, and according to the Treaty of Kępnosigned in 1282, Przemysł II inherited Pomerelia. This strengthened his position and enabled his coronation as King of Poland. The ceremony was held on 26 June 1295 in Gniezno, and was performed by his ally Archbishop Jakub Świnka. Only nine months later, on 8 February 1296, Przemysł II was murdered during a failed kidnapping attempt made by men of the Margraves of Brandenburg, with some help from the Polish noble families of Nałęcz and Zaremba.
Przemysł II was born on 14 October 1257 in Poznań as the fifth child and only son of Duke Przemysł I of Greater Poland and his wife Elisabeth, daughter of Duke Henry II the Pious of Silesia. It is known that he was born in the morning, because according to the Chronicle of Greater Poland, when Dowager Duchess Elisabeth gave birth to a son, the vicars and canons of the city were singing morning prayers.At the news of the birth, the local clergy chanted the Te Deum laudamus. Shortly after his birth, the prince was baptized by the Bishop of Poznań, Bogufał III.
According to the Chronicle of Greater Poland (Kronika wielkopolska), English: Industry ) means production of a good or service within an economy today, it is reasonable to be considered that his name could be a valid form from Przemysław, especially as this version is undoubtedly more medieval (occurs at the beginning of the 14th century). Another name under which the Duke of Greater Poland was probably known, following the indications of the Rocznik Kołbacki, is Peter (Polish : Piotr), but Oswald Balzer considered this an obvious mistake. The only historian who recognised the name Peter as authentic was K. Górski.Przemysł II was named after his father, who had died four months before his birth, on 4 June 1257. The form of the name in the days of his contemporaries certainly sounded like Przemysł or possibly Przemyśl. However, due to the fact that the word "Przemysł" (
No sources about contemporary rulers provided information about a nickname. Only in sources related to the Teutonic Order from 1335 he is given the nickname Kynast. : Pogrobowiec), but this has not been universally accepted.In current historiography he is sometimes nicknamed Posthumous (Polish
At the time of is birth, Przemysł II was the nominal ruler of the Duchy of Poznań. The guardianship of the Duchy, probably alongside with his mother Elisabeth, [ citation needed ]was taken by his uncle Duke Bolesław the Pious and his wife, the Hungarian princess Jolenta (Helena). In consequence the prince remained at the court in Poznań, where his mother raised him. On 16 January 1265 Dowager Duchess Elisabeth died at her estate in Modrze, and the orphaned Przemysł together with his sisters were later cared for by their uncle and aunt.
Very little information exists about the education given to Przemysł II. Diplomatic sources have retained only the names of two of his teachers: Dragomir and Przybysław.It is assumed (although without any direct evidence) that the prince had some knowledge of at least Latin in speech and writing.
The next mention of Przemysł II came in 1272, when his uncle Duke Bolesław the Pious appointed him the nominal commander of an armed expedition against Brandenburg. The true commanders of the expedition were the Governor of Poznań, Przedpełk and the Castellan of Kalisz, Janko. The expedition was launched on 27 May; in addition to the specific purpose to acquire and destroy the newly built fortress in Strzelce Krajeńskie (or, in case it proved to be impossible, at least the desolation of Neumark). The young prince was to be educated in the art of war. The project, as detailed in the Chronicle of Greater Poland,was a great success. The city of Strzelce Krajeńskie after a short, but extremely fierce battle, was defeated and captured by the Greater Poland army. According to the Chronicle, while gaining command of the fortress, Przemysł II ordered the slaughter of the defenders, and only a few managed to save the life of the prince from the angered citizens.
Shortly after completing the expedition and with the majority of his forces in his way back, Przemysł II received a confidential message that the fortress of Drezdenko was protected by only a few German knights. The young prince, despite the fact that he only had a part of his forces, decided to make a quick attack. This completely surprised the defenders and fearing the same fate of soldiers from Strzelce Krajeńskie, they decided to surrender the fortress in exchange for a full pardon. After this, Przemysł II took the fortress in the name of his uncle and triumphantly returned home.
In the same year, Przemysł II concluded his first alliance with Duke Mestwin II of Pomerelia. At first an ally of the Margraves of Brandenburg, Mestwin II could expel his brother and uncles from Pomerania and became sole ruler in 1271, but shortly after he was defeated and even imprisoned by them; this caused him to cede the province of Gdańsk to Margrave Conrad of Brandenburg in exchange for aid against his foes. Despite Mestwin II retaining the feudal sovereignty over the territory, the Brandenburg Margraviate still occupied the main castles and fortresses of the city even after the restoration of Mestwin II in the ducal throne. With his knowledge that his forces are too weak against Brandenburg, the Pomeranian Duke decided then to make an alliance with the Greater Poland rulers, Bolesław the Pious (who probably was his first-cousin)and Przemysł II.
The Greater Poland-Pomerania alliance ended up in regaining the fortresses in Gdańsk and the complete expulsion of the Brandenburg forces from Pomerania. Although soon after Mestwin II decided to conclude a separate peace with the Margraviate, the alliance with Greater Poland signed in 1272 remained in force.The continuous threat of Brandenburg and the uncertainty of the alliance with Mestwin II, caused that Bolesław the Pious began to seek new allies in case of war. For this purpose, Bolesław decided to seek an agreement with Duke Barnim I of Pomerania.
As a part of the new alliance with Pomerania, marriage was arranged between Przemysł II and Barnim I's granddaughter Ludgarda,daughter of Henry I the Pilgrim, Lord of Mecklenburg and Anastasia of Pomerania. Apparently, the young prince was pleased with his young bride, as stated in the Chronicle of Greater Poland:
«And when he saw her, he liked her person. And there in the country of the said Duke Barnim, in the city of Szczecin, took her as a wife. And this happened in his sixteenth year of life (1273).»
After the wedding the couple was briefly separated. Przemysł II came to Greater Poland, where together with his uncle prepared the ceremonial arrival of his wife to Poznań. Finally, together with his uncle, his aunt Jolenta, Bishop Mikołaj I of Poznań and other Greater Poland dignitaries the prince went to the border frontier in Drezdenko, where he solemnly brought Ludgarda to her new home. The alliance between Greater Poland and Pomerania was directed against Brandenburg and in 1274, resulted in more than one retaliatory expedition against Greater Poland; taken by surprise, the princes watched how without major obstacles the Brandenburg army came to Poznań, and burned the main fortress of the city.Only after this, the Greater Poland knighthood was hastily organized and was able to expel the invaders.
In 1273 Przemysł II became an independent Duke of Poznań. The circumstances around this event are not entirely clear.On the basis of only one known source, a document dated 1 October 1273, it appears that Przemysł II began to use the title of "dux Poloniae" (Duke of [Greater] Poland). A document issued on 25 August 1289, notes that the Greater Poland ruler gave the villages of Węgielnice and Łagiewnice to the major of Gniezno, Piotr Winiarczyk, in gratitude for helping him to escape from the Gniezno fortress (however, when the incident took place wasn't mentioned in the document). In light of modern historiography, the events preceding the issue of this document could be as follows: Przemysł II, unhappy with the prolonged guardianship of his uncle, and with the support of some powerful Greater Poland magnates decided, regardless of the consequences, to assert his rights over Poznań. It is unclear at this stage whether there has been any armed incidents; in any case, the demands of Przemysł II became so insistent that they ended in his imprisonment in the Gniezno castle. It can be assumed that there wasn't a prison in the proper sense of the word, but under house arrest, during which Przemysł II was not too rigorously guarded, since the prince was able to escape from the castle without any outside help. In a document issued to Piotr Winiarczyk, the writer used the phrase "qui de nocte consurgens", which supports the assumption that the clerk was asleep and was completely surprised by the arrival of the prince. In any case, the real cause of this grant of lands given to Winiarczyk by Przemysł II apparently wasn't sure, and probably only equipping him with sufficient means to escape.
After escaping from Gniezno, Przemysł II probably went on Lower Silesia under the care of Henryk IV Probus, Duke of Wrocław. This help was evidenced by the conclusion of an alliance (in unknown date) directed against "any man and Polish prince" with the exception of Duke Władysław of Opole and King Ottokar II of Bohemia.
An alliance between Przemysł II and Henry IV placed Bolesław the Pious in a very uncomfortable situation, because he was a member of the Pro-Hungarian coalition of Polish princes (in addition to him, it included Bolesław V the Chaste, Leszek II the Black and Konrad II of Masovia) could not remain indifferent to this close cooperation with the Duke of Wrocław, which was the leader of the Pro-bohemian coalition (where other Silesian princes also belonged).
This alliance probably forced Bolesław the Pious to reconsider his treatment of his nephew and finally granted him the Duchy of Poznań in 1273.Przemysł II, in exchange, not only interrupted for a time his cooperation with the Duke of Wrocław, but decided to support his uncle in the expedition against Władysław of Opole (ally of King Ottokar II and Henryk IV Probus), in retaliation for the attempts of the Opole ruler to overthrow the government of Bolesław V the Chaste in Lesser Poland during the first half of 1273. Thus, with high probability, it can be concluded that by this time the conflict between Przemysł II and his uncle for power has been finally resolved.
Very little information exists about the rule of Przemysł II over Poznań. From the period 1273–1279, are known only four documents issued by the prince, including two issued jointly with his uncle Bolesław the Pious.
Przemysł II's foreign politics are more known during this time. His friendly relations with Henry IV Probus survived, despite the momentary interruption, even after 1273. This alliance was maintained without significant changes, and only as a result of the events that taken place on 18 February 1277 in the town of Jelcz near Wrocław,the Duke of Poznań was forced to explicitly stand at the side of the Wrocław ruler, his cousin. Henryk IV was kidnapped and imprisoned in the Legnica castle by his uncle, Duke Bolesław II the Horned. The pretext used by the Duke of Legnica to do this was the demands of the Duke of Wrocław over one-third of his domains, which, according to him, were part of his inheritance as legacy from both his father Henry III the White (died in 1266) and uncle Władysław (died in 1270). Bolesław used in his favor the political weakness of Henryk IV's guardian, King Otakar II of Bohemia, who in September 1276 was forced to submit to King Rudolph I of Germany.
Przemysł II, faithful to his previous agreements with Henry IV Probus, decided to stand at the head of the knights of Poznań, Wrocław (which generally were loyal to their ruler) and Głogów (commanded by Duke Henry III) and marched to Legnica in order to obtain the freedom of Henry IV.The Legnica army was commanded by Bolesław and his eldest son Henry V the Fat. The battle took place on 24 April 1277 in the village of Stolec near Ząbkowice Śląskie, and, according to modern historiography, was extremely bloody and lasted almost the entire day. Initially it seemed that the coalition Poznań-Głogów-Wrocław would have a complete victory. The situation became even more favorable to them when Bolesław escaped from the battlefield. However, his son Henry V decided to stay until the end, and in this desperate situation encouraged his knights to fight, and finally obtain the victory; to complete the success, even Przemysł II and Henry III were taken prisoners. However, according to Jan Długosz in his chronicle, for the Dukes of Legnica this was a Pyrrhic victory, since "died in this battle so countless number of people that the knights of Legnica, although the winner, they could mock the vanquished, because the bloody paid for victory". The imprisonment of the Duke of Poznań, if it occurred, was brief. The argument against this was noted in the fact that there is no record of Przemysł II having to pay for his release.
Whatever the truth was, by 5 July 1277 Przemysł II was in Lubin.The release of Henryk IV Probus took place some days later, on 22 July, after the surrender to Bolesław II of 1/5 of his Duchy, with the town of Środa Śląska at the head. Bolesław the Pious was against the participation of his nephew in this conflict; he not only refused to support him militarily but also invaded the borders of the Duchy of Wrocław, trying to assert financial claims. Moreover, at this point, he gave his daughter Elizabeth in marriage to Henry V the Fat.
An additional reason for a quick end to this conflict among the Silesian princes was the personal intervention of King Ottokar II of Bohemia, who in preparation for his final confrontation with King Rudolph I of Habsburg German needed to calm the situation in Poland.
In September 1277 King Ottokar II held in the border city of Opava a meeting of Polish princes. Sources doesn't specify either the exact date or the participants. Historians speculate only that they could be: Henryk IV Probus, Bolesław V the Chaste, Leszek II the Black, Władysław of Opole with his sons, Henry III of Głogów and Przemysł II.Several political decisions were made during the meeting, most notably military actions against Germany.
The decisive battle between Ottokar II and Rudolph I took place on 25 August 1278 in the known Battle on the Marchfeld. As many 1/3 of the Czech army were supposed to be allied with the Polish troops. Przemysł II wasn't among them, because he was then in Ląd.However this doesn't mean that, as historians speculate, he didn't send troops to the Bohemian King as was planned.
The apparent difference of interests between Przemysł II and his uncle Bolesław the Pious in the Silesian and Czech affairs, did not disturb their good relations. Evidence of this was the common issuance of documents, such as 6 January 1278.
Another proof of the close cooperation between uncle and nephew in the last years of Bolesław the Pious' life is in the events that took place in mid-1278 (probably in August):Bolesław, using the weakness of the Margraviate of Brandenburg during the fight between Ottokar II and Rudolph I, in only eight days attacked Neumark and advanced until Myślibórz, where his troops defeated Margrave Otto V the Long.
Przemysł II didn't participate in this expedition (at least directly, according to Jan Długosz), because at that moment he was in Ląd, according to a document dated 24 August 1278. Certainly by the command of his uncle, Przemysł II acted as mediator in the dispute between Dukes Leszek II the Black and Ziemomysł of Inowrocław and his subjects.
Przemysł II was able to end the dispute between Leszek and Ziemomysł with their local nobility definitively. The Duke of Inowrocław had to agree to two conditions: firstly, in his court all the noble families would be well tolerated and respected, and secondly, he had put a distance from his German advisors. In addition Ziemomysł also have to accept the surrender of the towns of Kruszwica and Radziejów to Bolesław the Pious and Wyszogród to Duke Mestwin II of Pomerelia.The friendly relations between Przemysł II and the Kuyavia Dukes proved to be durable and survived to the end of his reign. The expedition against Brandenburg in 1278 was the last important event in Bolesław the Pious' life. "Maximus trumphator de Teutonicis" (in: The highest winner on the Germans ), died on 13 or 14 April 1279 in Kalisz. Without male heirs, shortly before his death he declared his nephew his only and legitimate heir and urged him to take care of his wife Jolenta-Helena and his two underage daughters, Hedwig and Anna.
The inheritance of Greater Poland by Przemysł II went peacefully. The union proved to be durable, and with the exception of its borders with the Duchy of Wrocław, survived throughout his reign. However, despite the personal unification of the territory, the division between Kalisz and Gniezno persisted almost to the end of the 18th century. Later, in times of Casimir III the Great, there was also a visible division between the old voivodeships of Poznań and Kalisz.
An analysis of the contemporary documentsshowed that in the first period of his rule over all Greater Poland, Przemysł II relied on the following nobles: Jan Gerbicz, Bishop of Poznań; members of the powerful noble family of Zaremba: Andrzej, chancellor of Kalisz (since 1288 the first "cancellerius tocius Polonia") and later Bishop of Poznań; Sędziwój, chamberlain of Gniezno; Beniamin, voivode of Poznań; and Arkembold, voivode of Gniezno. Other close collaborators were Wojciech Krystanowic z Lubrzy, chamberlain of Poznań; Tomisław Nałęcz, Poznań castellan; Maciej, Kalisz castellan; Stefan, Wieluń castellan, Mikołaj Łodzia, Poznań judge; Wincenty Łodzia, chancellor of Poznań; and the brothers Tylon, Jaśko and Mikołaj, three notaries of middle-class origin.
During the years 1279–1281, Przemysł II had a rather friendly (or at least neutral) relationship with all of his immediate neighbors.
The Duke of Greater Poland felt quite safe when he was invited to a meeting organized by Henry IV Probus. The meeting took place probably on 9 February 1281 in one of the Silesian villages;however, the Duke of Wrocław had another plan – he broke all the rules of hospitality, imprisoned the three princes who were invited (Przemysł II, Henry V the Fat of Legnica, and Henry III of Głogów), and forced them to make political concessions. This action was made even more outrageous by the fact that only four years earlier Przemysł II and Henry III risked their lives and armies to save Henry IV Probus in the Battle of Stolec, which ended with victory of Henry V the Fat, the third guest of this meeting. Historians speculate that the reason for the Duke of Wrocław to make this radical move was probably his desire to increase his influence over the neighboring principalities as part of his own plans for a royal coronation.
Finally, after brief resistance, Przemysł II was forced to give the strategic Lesser Polish land of Wieluń (also known as Ruda) in order to obtain his release, because Henry IV wanted a direct connection between Wrocław and Lesser Poland. The imprisonment of Przemysł II did not last too long, because on 3 March he was documented to have been in Poznań.Henry III and Henry V the Fat were both forced to grant much larger territorial concessions. In addition, the three Dukes agreed that upon the request of the Duke of Wrocław they would each give him military aid in the amount of thirty lancers. So this was, in practice, an act of homage.
The rapid release of Przemysł II could have been aided by the intervention of Leszek II the Black and Mestwin II of Pomerelia.The reason for the arrival of Mestwin II to Greater Poland, in addition to helping his imprisoned ally, was to settle the claims of the Teutonic Order over parts of Pomerelia and to resolve the issue of succession after his own death; from his first marriage, Mestwin II had only two daughters, Catherine and Euphemia. The situation was further complicated by the fact that Mestwin II gained the rule over all the Duchy of Pomerelia after a war against his uncles, Racibor and Sambor II, who in revenge for this willed his possessions (including Białogard and Gniew) to the Teutonic Order upon his death in 1278.
The first talks between Przemysł II and Mestwin II about the latter's succession probably occurred around 1281, on occasion of the arrival of the Duke of Pomerelia in Greater Poland to visit the Benedictine Abbey in Lubin.Although there is no direct evidence that Przemysł II was also in the Abbey in person, the presence of Jan I of Wysokowce, Bishop of Poznań and other Greater Poland dignitaries suggest that a compromise was then suggested. At the beginning of the next year Mestwin II again went to southern Greater Poland, in order to talk with the Papal legate Filippo di Fermo about his dispute with the Teutonic Order over the possession of the towns of Gniew and Białogard. The legate stayed in Milicz, which belonged to the Diocese of Wrocław. Due to the friendly relations of Przemysł II (and thus his ally Mestwin II) with Henry IV Probus, the Duke of Pomerania decided to stop at the frontier village of Kępno (also in the Diocese of Wrocław), and waited to hear the legate's verdict.
In Kępno, Mestwin II probably expected the arrival of the Duke of Greater Poland.Here, on 15 February 1282, a treaty was concluded between Przemysł II and Mestwin II, which secured the future unification of Gdańsk Pomerania and Greater Poland. Witnesses in the signed document, among others, were Pomeranian Voivode Waysil, Poznań voivode Beniamin, Gniezno voivode Arkembold, Poznań judge Mikołaj, Kalisz judge Andrzej, and the Dominican friar Piotr (later Prince-Bishop of Cammin from 1296 to 1298), who was possibly responsible for writing the text. Other important dignitaries might have been present in Kępno at the time, however, they are not mentioned.
There are ongoing disputes between historians about the exact nature of the Treaty of Kępno. According to some historians (for example Balzerand Wojciechowski ) the treaty was a classic pact of mutual inheritance, in which the one who survives the other inherits his territory. According to others (like Kętrzyński, Baszkiewicz, Zielinska, Nowacki and Swieżawski), it was a one-sided arrangement or donation for life from Mestwin II to Przemysł II (called donatio inter vivos). Another theory was posed by Janusz Bieniak. He believed that Mestwin II simply paid homage for his lands to the ruler of Greater Poland, who became the de jure ruler of the territory. Currently, the second theory is the most accepted, mainly because it agrees entirely with the contemporary sources. Since 1282 Przemysł II formally used the title of "dux Pomeranie" (Duke of Pomerania), but during Mestwin II's life he renounced his claim to the rights over Gdańsk Pomerania (Pomerelia).
As was customary, the treaty would have to be approved by the nobles and knights of both lands. The meeting between the nobility of Pomerelia and Greater Poland took place between 13 and 15 September 1284 in the town of Nakło, where they confirmed the rights of Przemysł II over Gdańsk Pomerania.The unification of Pomerelia and Greater Poland was not the only decision made by Przemysł II and Mestwin II. The favors shown by the Duke of Pomerelia to the powerful witnesses of the agreement from Greater Poland showed that they were also keenly interested in the close integration of the two lands.
In December 1283 in Gniezno, at the age of 22 or 23 years, Ludgarda, wife of Przemysł II, died unexpectedly.Relations between the spouses for some time before her death weren't very good; perhaps there had even been a separation between them. The reason for this was the supposed infertility of Ludgarda, more apparent after ten years of marriage. The actual period of marital intercourse between the spouses given their age (both are quite young at the time of their wedding) could actually be shorter. Indeed, there is no direct proof about Ludgarda's barrenness beyond the lack of offspring; in those, the childlessness in marriage was usually considered to be the woman's fault, although in this case (due to the birth of a daughter from Przemysł II's second marriage), it seems more likely. It was not a surprise when accusations began to emerge against the Duke of Greater Poland of the suspected murder of his wife. No contemporary source mentions this, a fact more surprising because Przemysł II had bitter enemies who certainly would use this crime against him. Also, any reactions from church or public penance would noticed.
The first suggestion about Ludgarda's mysterious death came from the 14th century Rocznik Traski:
«In the same year died unexpectedly the spouse of Przemysł Duke of Greater, the daughter of Lord Nicholas of Mecklenburg named Lukarda. Nobody could figure out how she died.»
The chronicler of the Rocznik Traski doesn't suggest an unnatural death for the Duchess, but leaves some doubts about it. The Rocznik małopolski, by the other hand, spoke clearly about Ludgarda's murder in the Szamotuły code, in which added further information about this event:
«Regardless of the historian (I might add) we have seen in our youth in the streets of Gniezno a wooden chapel, which in the vernacular language is called vestibule, where exist two great stones in the shape of millstones reddened with the blood of that lady, who are completely worn and faded, and were deposited in her tomb at Gniezno cathedral.»
Another source that describes the death of Ludgarda is the Kronika oliwska, written in the mid-14th century by Abbot Stanisław. On the pages of his work, the author clearly showed aversion towards the Samborid dynasty, rulers of Pomerelia until the end of the 13th century. This aversion is also transferred to Przemysł II:
«When Prince Mestwin was buried in Oliwa, Przemysł arrived in Gdańsk and took possession of the duchy of Pomerania. Then he received from the Holy See the crown of the Polish Kingdom. He lived another year and was captured by the men of the Margrave of Brandenburg, Waldemar, who killed him to avenge the holy Lukarda his wife, suspecting that he had strangled her.»
It is unknown why the Margraves of Brandenburg would avenge the murder of Ludgarda, since this could place them in a dangerous position, considering their alliance with Pomerelia-Greater Poland. The reports of the Kronika oliwska were repeated in Mecklenburg by chronicler Ernst von Kirchberg,a wandering bard from Thuringia, who around 1378 appears at the court of Duke Albert II of Mecklenburg (Ludgarda's nephew) on occasion to his wedding. Shortly after von Kirchberg wanted to show his thanks for the Duke's hospitality and wrote a long rhyming poem, in which he also mentions Ludgarda. The story of the chronicler was as follows: Przemysł II, at the instigation of his mother Elizabeth of Wrocław (who is well known had died in 1265, a long time before the marriage of her son) asked his wife for a divorce and return her to Mecklenburg. In view of her refusal because "What God has joined, men must not divide", Przemysł II decided her imprisonment in the tower, where he tried to persuade her again to accept a divorce. Finally, due to her obstinacy, Przemysł II killed her with his own dagger. In this event he was helped by one of his ministers, who finished the deed by suffocating a dying Ludgarda with a towel.
The last important source for the history of Ludgarda are Annals of Jan Długosz,who wrote about this events almost two centuries after (around 1480). Długosz was the first chronicler who locates Poznań as the place of Ludgarda's death. Besides, he established her date of death on 14 December, who is corroborated by contemporary sources as a date of her burial. Modern historiography generally supports the complete innocence of Przemysł II in the sudden death of his wife.
Based on the findings of Brygida Kürbis, it can be concluded that the 10-year marriage of Przemysł II and Ludgarda wasn't successful, and over time it became more obvious to everyone that the ducal couple was unable to have children, although this couldn't be completely certain, because Ludgarda in 1283 was at most only 23 years old. Nevertheless, is assumed that Przemysł II's growing aversion to his wife because of her infertility was well known by all. So when in mid-December 1283Ludgarda died suddenly and separated (evidenced by her death in Gniezno, away from Przemysł II's court in Poznań), raised suspicion that the death of the duchess was unnatural. Nobody, however, had evidence of this. Contributing to rumors was that in the 13th-century medical knowledge was negligible, and therefore often sudden death of a young person was interpreted as unnatural. In addition, the duke's rejection of a proper mourning to his wife, who was universally liked, increased the suspicions against Przemysł II.
On 18 December 1283, a few days after Ludgarda's funeral, Greater Poland witnessed an extremely important event for later history of Poland: the consecration of Jakub Świnka as Archbishop of Gniezno. The event took place in the Franciscan church in Kalisz and was extremely important because after twelve years (since the death in 1271 of Archbishop Janusz Tarnowa) Poland wasn't a full-recognized prelate.Jakub Świnka received the papal nomination on 30 July 1283, however, because he was only a deacon, it was necessary to ordain him. This ceremony took place on 18 December and a day later Jakub received the episcopal consecration. The ceremony, according to sources, was assisted by five Polish bishops and Przemysł II, who gave the new Archbishop an expensive ring as a gift.
Little is known about the origin and early years of Jakub Świnka, except for his mention in a document issued by Bolesław the Pious.As Archbishop of Gniezno, the cooperation between him and Przemysł II was excellent. One example of this was the fact that he appeared as witness in 14 diplomats issued by the Duke of Greater Poland, including the confirmation of all his existing privileges and the permission to mint his own coins in Żnin and the castellany of Ląd.
In the first half of 1284 Przemysł II was involved on the side of Denmark and Brandenburg in an armed conflict against Western Pomerania and Rügen. Details about this event are limited, and the peace, which was concluded on 13 August, didn't bring any real benefits to Greater Poland.
Much more positive effects would arise from Przemysł II's friendly relations with Leszek II the Black, Duke of Kraków; they had a meeting in Sieradz on 20 February 1284. Details about the reason and talks of this relationship are unknown, but they would be productive, since Przemysł II decided to give the Kraków voivode Żegota three villages (Nieczajno, Wierzbiczany and Lulin).This good relations were maintained for some time, since seven months later, on 6 September, the Duke of Greater Poland mediated in a dispute between Leszek II the Black and his brother Casimir II of Łęczyca with the Teutonic Order. Przemysł II also didn't lose sight of the Pomerelian affairs, because on 13 September he had a new meeting with Mestwin II in the city of Nakło.
According to the Rocznik Traski (based probably in older sources now missing), on 28 September 1284, Kalisz was burned.This soon caused a series of events which threatened the power of Przemysł II. Now governor of Kalisz and in the city at the time of the fire, Sędziwój Zaremba, fearing the consequences, decided to take the Kalisz castle (apparently not damaged in the fire) and give it to Henry IV Probus. At the news of the events of Kalisz, Przemysł II reacted instantly. No later than 6 October, as attested by a document issued in that time, Przemysł II was at the head of the Greater Poland knights under the city walls. In view of the refusal of submission, the duke ordered the siege. It is unknown how prolonged this siege was, but certainly soon due to the reluctance to fight from the rebels (knights and nobles probably feared that Przemysł II, after the capture of the castle, would not spare nobody), the duke agreed to negotiate with them. Eventually, Przemysł II regained his castle of Kalisz, but he had to give the newly built castle in Ołobok to Henryk IV Probus. There is no certainty that the betrayal of Sędziwój Zaremba was an isolated incident or part of a wider conspiracy from the Zaremba family. However, it can be assumed that the duke didn't believe in a familiar conspiracy because most of Sędziwój's relatives remained in their posts even after 1284. Another source supporting this is a document issued on 6 October (and thus during the period of siege) where the voivode of Poznań Beniamin Zaremba appears as a witness, and therefore had to remain in the inner circle of Przemysł II.
Przemysł II's change of attitude against Beniamin occurred in 1285. Due to little contemporary information, the cause is unknown. The Rocznik Traski only pointed that the Duke of Greater Poland imprisoned both Sędziwój and Beniamin.At the end apparently they were treated very gently, because Mestwin II of Pomerelia not only restored them their previous post but also part of the property that was confiscated them. Moreover, Beniamin appeared again in the circle of Przemysł II around 1286.
In 1285 Przemysł II decided to remarry. The chosen bride was Richeza, daughter of the deposed King Valdemar of Sweden and granddaughter of King Eric IV of Denmark. Due to the lack of contacts between Greater Poland and Sweden, the negotiations were probably concluded through the mediation of the House of Ascania.The marriage by proxy took place in the Swedish city of Nyköping on 11 October 1285; in the ceremony, the Duke of Greater Poland was represented by the notary Tylon, who received from Przemysł II the village of Giecz in gratitude for his services. It is unknown when and where the formal wedding between Przemysł II and Rikissa took place, or who administered the sacrament of marriage: it could be either Bishop Jan of Poznań or Jakub Świnka, Archbishop of Gniezno.
The year 1285 brought to Przemysł II other successes: in January, Archbishop Jakub of Gniezno convened a meeting in the town of Łęczyca, where the excommunication of the main opponent of the Greater Poland ruler, Henryk IV Probus was confirmed;On 15 August Przemysł II had another princely meeting, this time with Władysław I the Elbow-high and Ziemomysł of Inowrocław in the town of Sulejów, where the rebellion against Leszek II the Black and his deposition in favor of Konrad II of Czersk was probably discussed.
In May 1286 after the death of the Bishop of Poznań Jan Wyszkowic, his successor Jan Gerbicz was consecrated.The cooperation between the new Bishop and Przemysł II was good, although some historians wonder why Bishop Gerbicz later was surnamed "traditor" (traitor).
According to Jan Długosz, on 14 June 1287 some Greater Poland knights and (as was suggested by the chronicler), without the knowledge of his ruler,made a surprise attack to Ołobok, won the castle and returned the district to Greater Poland. Henryk IV Probus decided to not respond with any armed conflict and accepted the loss; in unknown circumstances, around this time Przemysł II also regained Wieluń (lost in 1281). It can be assumed that the attitude of the Duke of Wrocław was part of the concessions associated with his plans to obtain the throne of Kraków, and wanted in this way to ensure that benevolent neutrality of the Duke of Greater Poland.
Some months later, on 23 November in the city of Słupsk a meeting took place between Przemysł II, Mestwin II of Pomerelia and Bogislaw IV of Pomerania. There, they entered into and agreement of mutual cooperation and help against any opponent, especially the rulers of Brandenburg and Vitslav II, Prince of Rügen. The agreement also guaranteed the inheritance of Gdańsk by Bogislaw IV or his descendants in the case of the deaths of both Mestwin II and Przemysł II.In addition, this treaty contributed to a significant deterioration of the relations between Greater Poland and the House of Ascania, rulers of Brandenburg. The treaty was subsequently confirmed at a meeting in Nakło in August 1291.
According to the theory of historian Oswald Balzer, around 1287 and by inspiration of Archbishop Jakub of Gniezno, treaty of mutual inheritance was agreed on between Leszek II the Black, Henryk IV Probus, Przemysł II and Henry III of Głogów.Balzer's theory gained immense popularity among historians. This view is refuted by Władysław Karasiewicz and Jan Baszkiewicz. However, doesn't completely exclude the possibility that during this period an agreement could have been concluded between Przemysł II and Henryk IV Probus, evidenced by the fact that the Duke of Wrocław voluntary returned of lands Ołobock and Wieluń to Przemysł II in his will.
On 14 May 1288 at the Congress of Rzepce the alliance between Przemysł II and Mestwin II was further strengthened.In July, the Duke of Greater Poland visited the seriously ill Leszek II the Black in Kraków. The matters discussed in this visit are unknown.
The first and only child of Przemysł II was born in Poznań on 1 September 1288: a daughter, named Richeza, who later became queen of Bohemia and Poland as the wife of Wenceslaus II and after his death, of Rudolph I.The news of the birth of her daughter were also the latest information about Duchess Richeza. She certainly died after that date and before 13 April 1293, when Przemysł II entered into his third and last marriage. It seems that Przemysł II had deep and strong feelings for his second wife. This is evidenced not only by the fact that he give their daughter the name of the mother, but also by a document issued on 19 April 1293 where he ceded to the Bishopric of Poznań the village of Kobylniki as payment for a lamp lit eternally at his second wife's tomb.
On 30 September 1288 Leszek II the Black, Duke of Kraków, Sandomierz, and Sieradz, died childless .His death launched the outbreak of war in Lesser Poland. The Kraków knighthood were in favor of Bolesław II of Płock, while the Sandomierz knighthood supported his brother Konrad II of Czersk; on the other hand, the middle-class citizenry favored Henryk IV Probus, Duke of Wrocław.
At the beginning of 1289, Silesian troops marched under the command of the Duke of Wrocław and his allies Bolko I of Opole and Przemko of Ścinawa. They also counted on the support of Sulk the Bear (pl: Sułk z Niedźwiedzia), the castellan of Kraków, who had control over Wawel castle.In response, a coalition against them was formed by Bolesław II of Płock, Casimir II of Łęczyca, and Władysław I the Elbow-high. Surprisingly, Przemysł II joined with them, thus ending all of his prior arrangements with the Duke of Wrocław.
The Wrocław-Opole-Ścinawa army realized that they had insufficient forces to resist the coalition of Greater Poland-Kuyavia-Masovia, and decided to retreat to Silesia, where they would gather more troops. The retreating troops were quickly followed and a bloody battle took place in the town of Siewierz in Bytom on 26 February 1289, culminating in a full victory for Przemysł II and his allies. In this battle Przemko of Ścinawa was killed and Bolko I of Opole was captured.After the battle Władysław I the Elbow-high took Kraków, and Przemysł II withdrew with his troops, making a separate truce with Henryk IV Probus. However, later in 1289, Henryk IV Probus took up arms against Kraków, removing Władysław I the Elbow-high to the government of Sandomierz. This event was considered as temporary, because both Henryk IV Probus and Władysław I the Elbow-high continued to use the title of Duke of Kraków and Sandomierz.
Henry IV Probus, Duke of Wrocław and Kraków, died on 23 June 1290, probably poisoned.Because he died childless, in his will he bequeathed the Duchy of Wrocław to Henry III of Głogów, and Kraków – with the title of high duke and thus the overlordship over Poland – to Przemysł II. In addition, he returned Kłodzko to King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and also gave the Duchy of Nysa–Otmuchów to the Bishopric of Wrocław as a perpetual fief with full sovereignty.
These latter dispositions were not surprising, since they were compatible with the most recent political stance of Henryk IV. However, the inheritance of Kraków and Sandomierz by Przemysł II, one of his closest male relatives,caused considerable surprise among historians. In historiography, there are several theories to explain the decision of the Duke of Wrocław. Recently it has been assumed that Archbishop Jakub of Gniezno was behind this testament, because he was in Wrocław on 17 June 1290, a few days before the death of Henryk IV. In accordance with custom, Przemysł II had to pay some religious dispositions from Henryk IV: the transfer to Kraków Cathedral of 100 pieces of fine gold and devotion to the implementation of ornaments and liturgical books to the Tyniec monastery.
Przemysł II was probably informed very quickly about the death of the Duke of Wrocław. Due to the lack of documents, the first time he appeared with the title of Duke of Kraków was in a diploma issued on 25 July 1290.Przemysł II never used the title of Duke of Sandomierz in any of his documents, despite having full rights over this land under the will of Henryk IV Probus. This is because he did not have possession of it: Władysław I the Elbow-high, in fact, had conquered the land shortly before Henryk IV's death.
In Lesser Poland, Przemysł II adopted the crowned eagle – which was used previously by Henryk IV Probus – as his emblem; his previous emblem, inherited from both his father and uncle, was a climbing lion.
It is unknown exactly when Przemysł II went to Kraków to assume control, as on 24 April 1290 he was still in Gniezno.Two months later he issued a document in Kraków, where he initially supported and confirmed the power of the local elite (with castellan Żegota, chancellor Prokop, voivode Mikołaj, and treasurer Florian, among others), the clergy (including Paweł of Przemankowo, the Bishop of Kraków, who in another document issued on 12 September 1290 was given the right to collect tithes from the local income), and middle-class people.
There is no certainty about the political relations between Przemysł II and Władysław I the Elbow-high, especially regarding who was the real ruler over the Duchy of Sandomierz. The fact that Przemysł II did not use the title "Duke of Sandomierz" supports the thesis that both competitors accepted the Elbow-high's authority and formal possession over that land, without precluding the possibility of minor clashes.
It is also noted that Przemysł II appointed officials only in Kraków and the surrounding areas (Wieliczka and Miechów). This probably indicated that the real power of the Duke of Greater Poland was confined to the city and nearby towns. The other territories were probably held by Władysław I the Elbow-high.
Przemysł II left Kraków, capital of Lesser Poland, between 12 September and 23 October 1290. He never returned.Leaving Wawel castle, he took with him the royal crown and regalia that had been kept in the cathedral since the times of Bolesław II the Generous. At this point he was already planning his own royal coronation.
Meanwhile, the pretensions of Wenceslaus II of Bohemia over Lesser Poland became more evident. His claims were supported by the donation made for his maternal aunt, Gryfina (also named Agrippina) of Halych(widow of Leszek II the Black) and the investiture given to him by King Rudolph I of Germany. Both documents had no significance under Polish law; however, his military power, wealth and the cultural proximity with the Kingdom of Bohemia made Wenceslaus II a widely accepted candidate in Lesser Poland. Przemysł II thus had two choices: a military confrontation (in which he had no chance due to the predominance of the Bohemian army), or political discussions.
On 14 October 1290, Archbishop Jakub Świnka inaugurated a provincial synod in Gniezno, assisted by Jan Gerbicz, Bishop of Poznań; Tomasz Tomka, Bishop of Płock; Wisław, Bishop of Kujawy; and Konrad, Bishop of Lebus (Lubusz).In addition to the Bishops, Przemysł II and Mestwin II of Pomerelia also assisted at the Synod. It was probably in this meeting that the Duke of Greater Poland decided to abandon his rights over Lesser Poland to Wenceslaus II in exchange for a monetary compensation.
It is not known exactly when the negotiations began between Przemysł II and Wenceslaus II. They certainly ended between 6 January (the last time when Przemysł II used the title of Duke of Kraków in a document) and 10 April 1291 (the first time when Wenceslaus II used this title in charters).In addition, it is also known that by mid-April Bohemian troops led by Bishop Arnold of Bamberg were already at Wawel castle.
The loss of Lesser Poland did not prevent Przemysł II from actively participating in national politics. In the early 1290s (probably shortly after the death of Henryk IV Probus), he entered in a close alliance with Henry III of Głogów. Details of this treaty are not preserved, and the only historic knowledge of this matter derives from a document issued by Władysław I the Elbow-high in Krzywiń on 10 March 1296, in which he emphasizes that Henry III had good rights over Greater Poland.Rejected the idea of kinship (who the Elbow-high could claim due to his marriage to Hedwig of Kalisz), it seems justified the view that in the early 1290s (certainly before January 1293, when Przemysł II became involved with the Elbow-high) a treaty was signed in which the ruler of Greater Poland give rights of succession to the Duke of Głogów.
In January 1293, political talks occurred in Kalisz between Przemysł II, Władysław I the Elbow-high, and his brother Casimir II of Łęczyca. Details about the conversations are unknown; however two documents survive in which the succession of the throne of Kraków (although only theoretical, because the Duchy was in the hands of Wenceslaus II) would be in the following order: first Przemysł II, then the Elbow-High, and finally Casimir II of Łęczyca. In addition, they promised to help each other in the recovery of this land by any one of them and annually pay 300 pieces of fine silver to the Archbishop of Gniezno, with the obligation to duplicate the amount during the first two years.Conversations in Kalisz were certainly sensitive, and the initiator was without doubt Archbishop Jakub Świnka. The main motivation was probably to reinforce the anti-Bohemian coalition, in which the allies undertook to help each other. Przemysł II also named the Elbow-high as his successor in Greater Poland in the case of his death without male heirs (although it is possible that, as in the case of Henry III of Głogów, they signed a treaty of mutual inheritance). In spite of the arrangements there are no known actions by the coalition. Casimir II of Łęczyca died on 10 June 1294 in the Battle of Trojanow against Lithuania.
At the Congress of Kalisz, the marriage between Władysław I the Elbow-high and Hedwig of Kalisz, Przemysł II's cousin and daughter of Bolesław the Pious, was probably arranged (and possibly performed).
Around the time of the Congress of Kalisz, Przemysł II decided to remarry, as his beloved wife Richeza was certainly dead by that time (probably the year before). The chosen bride was Margaret, daughter of Albert III, Margrave of Brandenburg-Salzwedel and Matilda of Denmark, daughter of King Christopher I.This marriage was concluded for political reasons and was expected to secure the succession of Przemysł II in Pomerelia. Due to the relatively close relationship between the Duke and his bride (they are both great-grandchildren of King Ottokar I of Bohemia), a papal dispensation was needed for the marriage. The wedding ceremony took place shortly before 13 April 1293; according to some historians, it was probably on this occasion that the betrothal between Przemysł II's daughter Ryksa and Otto of Brandenburg-Salzwedel, Margaret's brother, was also celebrated.
In spring of 1294, Mestwin II of Pomerelia paid a visit to Przemysł II. In turn, the Duke of Greater Poland was in Pomerelia on 15 June, where he approved documents with Mestwin II in Słupsk.By 30 June Przemysł II was again in Greater Poland.
The deteriorating health of Mestwin II forced Przemysł II to make another visit to Pomerelia in autumn.It is unknown if he was present when Mestwin II died on 25 December 1294 in Gdańsk; however, there is no doubt that Przemysł II took part in his funeral. The last Duke of Pomerelia from the Samborides was buried in the Cistercian monastery in Oliwa.
After inheriting Pomerelia, Przemysł II adopted the new title of "dux Polonie et Pomoranie".He remained in Gdańsk Pomerelia until the beginning of April, but by 10 April he was in Poznań.
The unification of Greater Poland and Gdańsk Pomerania (Pomerelia) definitely made Przemysł II the strongest Piast ruler. Already by 1290, and with the help of Archbishop Jakub of Gniezno, duke began to prepare his coronation, earlier unsuccessfully pursued by Henryk IV Probus, the preliminary step for the unification of Poland.[ citation needed ]
Due to the occupation of Lesser Poland by Wenceslaus II, the Duke of Greater Poland had to postpone his plans until 1294. Only with the death of Mestwin II – an event which increased considerably his power among the Piasts rulers – Przemysł II, together with Archbishop Jakub, took the decisive decision for a coronation.[ citation needed ]
The coronation of Przemysł II and his wife Margaret took place at Gniezno Cathedral on Sunday 26 June 1295, the day of Saints John and Paul.It is unknown why it took place as a simple coronation ceremony (ordinis cororandi) despite it was the first Polish coronation in 219 years. Besides Archbishop Jakub of Gniezno, the other main representants of church hierarchy who participated in the ceremony were: Bishops Konrad of Lubusz, Jan II of Poznań, Wisław of Włocławek and Gedko II of Płock. From the Polish episcopate, Bishops Johann III Romka of Wrocław and Jan Muskata of Kraków were possibly either present in person or sent their consents. Historians generally agree with the above list of Bishops who participated in the coronation. Certainly are some doubts about the presence of Bishop Konrad of Lubusz, who on 18 June was in Prague. However, as was noted by Kazimierz Tymieniecki, he could be able to make the travel to Gniezno for the coronation. There is no information about the secular witnesses of the coronation; certainly many dignitaries from both Greater Poland and Pomerelia must have arrived. Similarly, no sources point to the presence of other Piasts rulers in the ceremony.
The consent of Pope Boniface VIII wasn't necessary, because due to the earlier coronations Poland was already a Kingdom.Contemporary sources do not definitively confirm that Przemysł II and Archbishop obtained the approval of the Holy See for the coronation. Only the Kronika oliwska and the Kronika zbrasławska stated that the coronation took place with such consent.
If there was an explicit approval, it could influence the later effort of Władysław the Elbow-high to obtain the Pope's permission for his own coronation; the coronation in 1320 took however place in very different circumstances, because Władysław had a competitor to the throne in the person of King John of Bohemia and the Papacy was then strongly influenced by the French court.In 1295 the Papacy was an independent entity and the Polish episcopate could more calmly await the expected protests from Wenceslaus II.
Regardless of whether Przemysł II has obtained the consent of the Pope or not, the legality of his coronation was not questioned by his contemporaries. Even the Czech Kronika zbrasławska did not deny the royal title of the Duke of Greater Poland, although it called him King of Kalisz.Finally, Wenceslaus II restricted his actions only to diplomatic protests to both Przemysł II (where he tried to persuade him to give up the crown) and the Papal Curia.
The coronation of Przemysł II gave rise to a dispute between historians about the extent of his kingdom. Stanisław Kutrzeba pointed that Przemysł II, in fact, was crowned King of Greater Poland.This theory caused a lively discussion, which to this day doesn't give a clear answer about the monarchical status of Przemysł II. It could be expected however that Przemysł II wanted to revive through the coronation the old Kingdom of Poland, which also agrees with the inscription on the post-coronation seal Reddidit ipse pronis victricia signa Polonis, although in reality Przemysł II was politically limited to Greater Poland and Gdańsk Pomerania.
After the coronation, Przemysł II went to Pomerelia and came to Słupsk On 30 July, where he confirmed the privileges of the Cistercian monasteries in Oliwa and Żarnowiec.He then visited other major cities: Gdańsk, Tczew and Świecie. In August 1295 he returned to Greater Poland but in October he was again in Gdańsk. This demonstrates how important the Duchy of Pomerelia was for Przemysł II.
Taking into account the fact that these events took place in the 13th century, the sources that stated any details concerning Przemysł II's death are dubious; the Kronika wielkopolska failed to mentionthe events in Rogoźno.
Sources are dividedabout who are the perpetrators of the murder of the Polish King: the margraves of Brandenburg, some Polish families (the Nałęczs or Zarembas or the two families at the same time), and finally attempts to reconcile the two theories.
One of the first sources who must be taken into account was the almost contemporary Rocznik kapituły poznańskiej.The records shows that the margraves of Brandenburg, Otto V, another Otto (perhaps Otto IV), and John IV, nephew of Przemysł II (as son of his oldest sister Constance), sent an army who arrived in the dawn on 8 February 1296 to the town of Rogoźno, where the King spent the Carnival to kidnap him. However, because he showed strong resistance and was wounded, the men, unable to take him injured to Brandenburg, finally killed him. The motive for the crime was the hatred of the margraves toward the Polish King because of his coronation.
The murder of King Przemysł II by men of the margraves of Brandenburg was also supported by the Kronika oliwska (Chronicle of Oliva), which stipulates that after the coronation:
«lived one year, was captured by the adjutant of Waldemar, Margrave of Brandenburg, and was murdered in revenge for his wife, the holy Lukarda, which, he suspected had killed before.»
With high probability it is assumed that the first part of this information, was translated from the Liber Mortuorum Monasterii Oliviensisby the author of the Kronika oliwska, Abbot Stanisław, and the message about the motives of the murder as a revenge for Ludgarda's death is the result of a latter addition of the Abbot. This passage established the main indication that Margrave Waldemar of Brandenburg was guilty of the crime; however, during the tragic events he could not have participated because in 1296 he had less than 15 years old. Waldemar certainly gained notoriety only around 1308, after his failed attempt to seize Pomerania.
Another earlier source who wrote about the death of Przemysł II at the hands of Brandenburg, was the Rocznik kołbacki of the Cistercian monastery in Kołbacz on Western Pomerania. The brief information is valuable primarily because it was the only one who named the direct perpetrator of the crime, a man named Jakub Kaszuba.The problem is that nothing certain about him was found in other sources, and besides, the name of Piotr, under what is known Przemysł II in the chronicle, raises big surprise. Most likely this is a mistake of the author.
Finally, another source who accused the margraves of Brandenburg was the relative later Chronicle of Henry of Hertford, which although written during the mid-14th century, was reliable enough because was from Germany (and therefore unsuspected of being partial). There he stated that Przemysł II died during a war between Brandenburg and Greater Poland. Another German chronicler, who unequivocally accused the House of Ascania was Dietmar of Lübeck,which also pointed out that Przemysł II's wife Margaret took part in the conspiracy which killed him, due to her family relations. It is unknown whether the chronicler found this information, from earlier sources or deduced it based on the simple relationship: because Margaret came from the family accused of the murder, she had to participate.
There are a number of sources, both Polish and foreign, who accused some Polish noble families as perpetrators of the crime. Among the Polish sources who established this fact are: the Rocznik małopolskiin the Szamotuły codec, the Rocznik Sędziwoja and the Kronika książąt polskich. The priority should be given to the nearest chronologically Rocznik Traski. Extremely important is also the testimony of Jan Łodzia, Bishop of Poznań during the Polish-Teutonic War of 1339, because it came from a person who participated in the political life of Greater Poland of those times.
The foreign sources who described the crime and pointed the culprits are: the Annales Toruniensis (date from the early 15th century),the Kronika zbrasławska (dated from the 14th century) and the Latopis hipacki, who was written in the first half of the 14th century. From the above-mentioned chronicles (from Lesser Poland, Bohemian and Kievan Rus' provenance), the main perpetrators in the King's death were Greater Poland noble families. These families have been identified as either the Zarembas (according to the Rocznik małopolski) or the Nałęczs with the help of the Zarembas (according to the Latopis hipacki).
Finally, a third group of sources accused both the margraves of Brandenburg and the Polish noble families of the murder; for example the Rocznik świętokrzyski nowy.Almost identical information was shown in the Katalog biskupów krakowskich, dated from the 15th century; however, there is an addition which also indicated that Wenceslaus II and a group of unnamed Polish princes are involved in the crime. It is unknown whether the author mentioned the involvement of Wenceslaus II as a simple deduction: because he had the greatest benefit for this crime, he must be the perpetrator. Finally, Jan Długosz indicated that the Zaremba and Nałęcz families, with the help of some "Saxons", are the perpetrators of the crime, a fact also reported by Marcin Bielski and Marcin Kromer.
8 February 1296 is widely recognized as the date of the crime. In fact, it appears in the Rocznik Traski,Rocznik małopolski, Rocznik Świętokrzyski nowyw, Kalendarz włocławski and the Liber mortuorum monasterii Oliviensis. The dates given by the Rocznik kapituły poznańskiej (6 February) and the Nekrolog lubiński (4 February), as well the reports of Jan Długosz are considered erroneous.
As for the place of death, historians considers accurate the versions of the Rocznik małopolski ("prope oppidum Rogoszno")or the Rocznik Sędziwoja ("ante Rogoszno"), who stated that Przemysł II was killed near Rogoźno.
The body of 39-year-old Przemysł II was buried in the Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Poznań, according to the Rocznik kapituły poznańskiej.The funeral was presided by Bishop Jan. Crowds of nobles, clergy, knights and common citizens took part in the procession.
The death of Przemysł II as a result of a failed kidnapping attempt was a matter of interest between historians.Circumstances of the death of the last of the Piast Greater Poland line was specifically studied by Karol Górski, Kazimierz Jasiński, Zygmunt Boras, Bronisław Nowacki and Edward Rymar. The importance in Polish history of the death of Przemysł II was also relevant in the works of Władysław Karasiewicz and Jan Pakulski, due to the role of the Nałęcz and Zaremba families.
In 1295 the King spent Christmas in Gniezno, where he met with Władysław I the Elbow-high.The reason for this meeting is unknown. Probably the possibility of the recovery of Lesser Poland was discussed, as was the defeat of Brandenburg. In any case, these conversations could be shown as a threat by the Brandenburg Margraves, who still are anxiously watching the inheritance of Pomerelia by Przemysł II after Mestwin II's death and his royal coronation. But the main concern of the House of Ascania was obvious to all: the union of the Kingdom of Poland, and that sooner or later Przemysł II would claim the lands seized by the Margraves in Greater Poland.
After 25 January 1296 the King left his capital, and surely by 3 February he was in Pyzdry. For the last days of the Carnival (between 4–7 February) Przemysł II decided to spend these festivities in the town of Rogoźno.
Leaving Pyzdry, the King certainly didn't think that about only 30 km away, in the Brandenburg town of Brzezina are staying the two brothers Margraves Otto IV with the Arrow and Conrad, and the sons of the latter: Otto VII, John IV and probably also the youngest, Waldemar. They were carefully informed by traitors from Przemysł II's inner circle about the King's itinerary for the next few days.
In the meanwhile, Przemysł II participated in the traditional tournaments and religious services of the Carnival. The security guard of the King became weaker, especially since probably 8 February. On that day began the forty days of Lent, and before heading out again the entourage wanted to rest.
The plan of kidnap the King by the Margraves of Brandenburg was widely detailed by the Roczniki małopolski.They probably wanted to obtain from Przemysł II the resignation of Pomerelia and with this, his plans for the unification of Polish Kingdom. The contingent was probably consisted by dozens of people, because made the kidnapping in hostile territory require adequate preparation. Direct command of the army was entrusted, according to the Rocznik kołbacki to certain Jakub, who was identified by Edward Rymar as Jakub Guntersberg (Jakub Kaszuba).
Although the personal participation of the Margraves in the kidnappingwas stated in the Rocznik kapituły poznańskie and the chronicle of Jan Długosz, this fact seems unlikely, because they would not risk their lives, with no certainty of success. In any case, an army of a few dozen men set off in the evening on 7 February (probably after sunset), by the shortest route through Noteć to the place where Przemysł II stayed. As was stated by Karol Górski, the sunset of 7 February (or properly 30 January, if we taken into account the subsequent calendar reform) occurred at 16:48, and the sunrise had come about 7:38, which gave fourteen hours to the army to quietly reach to their target.
The attack took place early in the morning of 8 February, on Ash Wednesday, when the bodyguards of the King were in a deep sleep. Despite this, they were able to organize a defense under the personal guidance of the King, but the attackers were too numerous to overcome. The primary objective of Jakub Kaszuba's people was the capture of Przemysł II; they succeeded only after the King, covered with numerous wounds, fell to the ground. The Brandenburg army seriously wounded his horse to flee towards the border with Silesia (probably with the intention to confuse the Polish army). Soon, the kidnappers realized that they weren't able to bring alive the King, and the prisoner only delays their escape. Then decided the murder of the King, a deed personally made by Kaszuba. km east from Rogoźno. The King's body was abandoned on the road, where was found by the knights involved in the persecution. The place where the crime was committed and his body was found (pl: porąbania) was traditionally named Porąblic. The assassins were never caught.A late tradition says that the murder took place probably in the village of Sierniki, about 6.5
Thus, there is much convincing evidence for the participation of the Margraves of Brandenburg in the murder. According to Kazimierz Jasiński,that efficient action wasn't possible without the participation of people who was close to Przemysł II. Historians are divided about what of two noble families, Nałęcz or Zaremba, participated in this event. The Zarembas are more suspect based on the writings of the Rocznik małopolski:; the rebellion of 1284, certainly caused a deterioration in their relations with the King. About the Nałęcz family, there is no accusation against them in the Rocznik świętokrzyskiego nowy or in the chronicle of Długosz; in fact, modern historiography writes about the friendly relationship of Przemysł II with the Grzymała and Łodzia families, and also with the Nałęcz.
Although the death of Przemysł II, last male member of the Piast Greater Poland line, certainly surprised his neighbors (including Brandenburg, whose purpose was to kidnap the king, not his murder), it caused the rapid intervention of all the forces who wanted to seize power in his domains. Probably even in February, and by March, Greater Poland was in the middle of a confrontation between Władysław I the Elbow-high (supported by Bolesław II of Płock)and Henry III of Głogów (with the help of Bolko I of Opole).
The war, if it really took place, didn't last long, because on 10 March 1296 in Krzywiń an armistice was signed.Under the agreement, the Elbow-high accepted the rights of the Duke of Głogów over Greater Poland, following the terms of his previous treaty with Przemysł II. In addition the Duke of Kujawy adopted Henry III's eldest son Henry as his heir, while ensuring that at the moment of his majority the Elbow-high would provide him with the Duchy of Poznań.
It's not known why Władysław I the Elbow-high considered that Henry III of Głogów had better rights to Greater Poland than him. Generally, historians believe that it was probably because of the constant threat of Brandenburg, who seized the land of Noteć and the castles in Wieleń, Czarnków, Ujście, Santok and Drezdenko.
The second reason for Władysław I the Elbow-high's quick agreement with Henry III of Głogów was the intervention in Gdańsk of his nephew Leszek of Inowrocław, which made claims to this part of the lands of Przemysł II.Finally, thanks to the fast intervention of the Elbow-high in Pomerelia, Leszek retreated to his paternal domains in Inowrocław after receiving as compensation the town of Wyszogród.
With the death of Przemysł II came the partition of his domains, and only thanks to the instant reaction of Władysław I the Elbow-high, the losses against of Brandenburg, Głogów and Kujawy were relatively small.
During his reign Przemysł II had only five seals:
Historians do not agree why Przemysł II replaced the seal used by his father and uncle for a lion and an eagle. It is believed that either he wanted to emphasize his precedence from the Piast dynasty (the eagle in the coat of arms was also used by Władysław III Spindleshanks and Władysław Odonic), or with the symbol wanted to emphasize his rights inherited from Henryk IV Probus.
There is no known coin which can certainly be attributed to Przemysł II. However, due to the existence of mints, confirmed by sources,it is possible that many coin portrayals were misinterpreted by experts. Some historians attributed to the Greater Poland ruler two types of coins: the Bracteate, preserved in seven copies, showing a portrait in profile with a crown, holding in his hands a sword, and a coin preserved in a single copy, which differs from the first model inscription "REX" and the crowning headgear (on the second copy appears topped with a cross). Both coins resemble the Denarius from times of Bolesław II the Generous.
Due to the nature of the extant sources from the times of Przemysł II (documents, and narrative texts recording mainly -if not exclusively- political events) it is difficult to indicate what the major plans of action of the King in the economic sphere were. The most important ally for Przemysł II was the Roman Catholic Church, and for obvious reasons (copyists and translators, in the vast majority, are from the clergy) most documents who detailed their collaboration have been preserved to this day.
One of the most important political allies of Przemysł II was Jakub Świnka, Archbishop of Gniezno. Already on 8 January 1284 he managed to obtain the village of Polanów.Much more important grace of the King to Archbishop Jakub was received on 1 August when he obtained the right of mint his own coins in Żnin and the castellany of Ląd. Moreover, under these privilege of coins mint, the Archbishop was to be treated as equal with the Greater Poland ruler. Two years later, on 20 June 1286 there was a failed attempt to get the same privilege of the Archbishop to Duke Bolesław II of Masovia in Łowicz; this became in the basis for the economic independence of Jakub and the economic power of Greater Poland. Also, the Bishop of Poznań received similar grants from Przemysł II for example, in 1288 in the city of Śródka, in 1289, an exemption from mercantile taxes to the episcopal city of Buk, and finally, in 1290, was approved the grant of German law for Słupca. For political reasons, there is no similar support to other bishops -with one exception- in 1287, Przemysł II released Bishop Konrad of Lubusz from the current Polish law and authorized the implementation of the German law in his diocese.
The Greater Poland ruler also tried to support monastical Orders. The surviving sources showed that among the most favored were the Cistercians and especially his monasteries in Ląd (who received grants in the years 1280, 1289, 1291 and 1293),Łekno (1280, 1283, 1288), and Gościkowo (1276, 1277, 1290). Those enjoying a little less support included the Benedictines (especially the monastery of Lubin, who received privileges in the years 1277, 1294, 1296), and Dominicans (his friary in Poznań received in 1277 the right to fishing on the Warta, and the monastery of Wronki monetary grants). Przemysł II also granted small privileges to military orders: the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre.
Przemysł II also favored the middle class, and happily to this day many documents regarding this have survived. In 1280, the capital Poznań bought from the government lands and utilities, and received income from stalls and shambles. Three years later, the merchants were freed from paying some taxes in Greater Poland.The second main city in Greater Poland, Kalisz, received in 1282 the confirmation of some rights previously granted by Bolesław the Pious. In 1283, the Duke extended the town privileges in all the cities of Greater Poland following the model of Kalisz (Privilege of Kalisz). In 1287 another city was granted privileges for the Jewish community to establish a local cemetery in the village of Czaszki ). In 1289 a city obtained consent for the construction of five pharmacies and the authorization of a sixth ). In 1291 cloth sellers received from the Duke the revenue from customs duties, and the city received 12 pieces of land for the purpose of grazing ). In 1292 an exemption from customs duties levied in Ołobok was granted. ) In 1294 noble privileges, based on former and existing German laws, were granted in the city of Kalisz ).
In addition to the privileges granted to Poznań and Kalisz, other individual privileges given to Pyzdry in 1283 (exemption from paying customs duties merchants in Greater Poland), to Rogoźno in 1280 (implementation of the German law ) and Elbląg in 1294 (confirmation of privileges given by Mestwin II ).
|Ancestors of Przemysł II|
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Przemysł IIBorn: 14 October 1257 Died: 8 February 1296
Bolesław the Pious
| Duke of Poznań |
Władysław I the Elbow-high
| Duke of Greater Poland, Kalisz, and Gniezno|
| Duke of Wieluń |
Henryk IV Probus
Henryk IV Probus
| Duke of Wieluń |
Władysław I the Elbow-high
| High Duke of Poland |
Wenceslaus II of Bohemia
Bolesław II the Generous
| King of Poland |
| Duke of Pomerelia |
Leszek of Inowrocław